Whether it’s a debate over the retirement age, or an exposé on age discrimination, Australia’s aging population is often a topic of discussion in the media.
And it’s a topic that affects business.
Figures show that when older Australians lose their jobs, they remain unemployed for longer than their younger counterparts. Often, there is a reluctance in the business world when it comes to hiring over 50s.
This reluctance is so stark that the government has introduced the “restart wage subsidy” – a financial incentive for businesses who hire Australians aged 50+.
But as many businesses are beginning to realise, hiring people over the age of 50 brings many benefits in addition to government support. Below, we’ve listed 5 of our top reasons your business should consider hiring mature age workers.
By far the number one reason to consider hiring people over the age of 50 is their experience – both workplace, experience and life experience.
While businesses may hire younger employees because they’re “fresh” or mouldable, there are many benefits to hiring older employees with experience. (And let’s not forget that just because they’re older, doesn’t mean they can’t bring a “fresh” approach.)
Experience pays. If you hire someone with experience in your industry, they’ll require less initial training and supervision. They’ll know what they’re doing, and how to do it. Chances are, they’ll also do it well. This allows your business to save time, hassle, and money, as your experienced employee hits the ground running in their new job.
Life experience is also a valuable commodity. Mature age workers know that jobs, co-workers, customers, and managers are all imperfect. They don’t have unrealistic expectations about their wage, holidays, or chances for promotion. And they’re generally better able to form positive interpersonal relationships. As such, they’re less likely than younger workers to quit due to disillusionment, unrealistic ambition, or interpersonal conflict.
Another great reason for hiring people over 50 is their stability.
A clear employment trend among younger workers is their tendency to “job hop”. This is disruptive to your business, as you’re forced to advertise, hire, and train for positions more regularly. Over 50s, on the other hand, tend to stay in their jobs for longer, bringing greater stability to your business and team. One reason employees over 50 are more stable is that they’re usually less interested in climbing the corporate ladder than younger employees. They also tend to value job security more highly.
But whatever the factors that contribute to this trend may be, the trend itself is clear: employing mature age workers can lead to greater stability in your business.
Closely related to stability, another advantage of hiring older employees is their loyalty.
With less interest in promotions, and more investment in job security, employees aged over 50 tend to be more loyal to those who hire them than younger employees.
This loyalty will often benefit your business in several ways. Loyal workers are less likely to leave their roles, meaning they save you the expense and hassle of hiring and training their replacements in the near future. They’re also more committed to you and your business’s success, meaning that they may work harder and commit more time and energy to succeed in their role.
With their life and industry experience, older employees are also great mentors to your less experienced and/or younger employees. Once a new over-50 employee is established and trusted in your business, they can mentor those around them. Whether that means teaching others how to solve an unfamiliar problem which they’ve encountered before, modelling the best ways to deal with emotionally challenging aspects of the job or something else entirely, there are lots of opportunities for mentoring from your mature age employees.
THE RESTART WAGE SUBSIDY PROGRAM
Of course, the Restart wage subsidy itself is another great reason to consider hiring over 50s.
Restart offers financial support to employers who employ job seekers who have been unemployed and on income support for six months or more, and who are aged 50 or older. As an employer, you’re eligible for up to $10,000 in assistance for a full-time employee over two years (as of 1 November 2015, this will change to 12 months).
If your mature age employee works 30 hours or more a week, you’ll be eligible for the full rate of the Restart wage subsidy. For those employed for 15-29 hours a week, you’ll receive a pro-rata subsidy. The Department of Employment explains eligibility criteria for the Restart wage subsidy here. There you’ll discover what you need to do to enjoy this financial benefit of hiring over 50s.
As you can see, there are many reasons to consider hiring employees over the age of 50.
Have you recently hired an over 50? What’s your experience been like? Let us know in the comments below!
Are you a job seeker over the age of 50? What’s your job search experience been like?