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Why we should value the senior end of the workforce more

05/06/2018
Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Senior workers are often given short shrift in the working world. Many are seen as technophobes, grumps and various other redundant and generally untrue stereotypes. However, we believe employers should be doing much more to value the silver end of the workforce, and here’s why.

The most powerful position in the world has been filled by 72 year old Donald Trump since January 2017. That’s not to mention in this country where the leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn is 67 and the Queen is 90. In the business world the likes of Warren Buffett make a mockery of the idea that senior professionals can’t be effective and with people likely to live considerably longer in the future it makes sense for firms to take advantage of these skills much more than they currently do.

One of the reasons is that, naturally, senior professionals will have considerably more experience than the rest of the workforce. This means that they’re highly valuable assets to have on board because they’ll have a stronger understanding of the long term effects of specific actions. Rather than thinking in the short term, older workers are likely to think more strategically and over a longer timeframe. As we all know, diversity can be the key to business success and having these different perspectives in your team can be immensely valuable. Experience also brings a wider network and older employees are likely to have built up a greater array of potentially useful business contacts than a more junior professional.

Another major factor is loyalty. While it may sound like a sweeping generalisation, it’s very often true. Younger generations tend to job hop – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – more regularly than their predecessors, while senior professionals are more likely to be loyal to their employer, if you treat them well that is. Part of this stems from the fact that they’re much more likely to have a clearer idea of what they want from a job, rather than eyeing up their next potential opportunity. In fact, a report published by BLS (Bureau of Labour Statistics) found that the average tenure at a specific organisation was considerably higher (10.2 years) for older professionals, than it was for younger employees.

More organisations should also channel the experience held by these professionals to mentor other employees, particularly in communications skills. Older workers will have been around at time when we people communicated face-to-face considerably more than they do now where e-mails, texting, social media and apps like WhatsApp are common place, even in the working wold. They’ve therefore generally got much more advanced communications skills which are essential in the business world, even today.

What attributes do you believe older workers can bring to an organisation? Share your thoughts with us below.

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