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Is your company discriminating against older workers without realizing it?


The average length of time an employee stays in a job is 4.6 years, according to a recent Economic News Release from the Bureau of labor and Statistics. Knowing this, you would think it would be easier to place a 58-year-old with a steady employment history than a 30-year-old job hopper.

The reality is that many employers are still under the impression that they should hire those 30-year-old employees with the longest runway in their careers even though today’s economy tells us differently. The truth is that the median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years as compared to the median tenure for employees age 65 and over which is 10.3 years.

Many hiring leaders are still Boomers whose own experience was joining an organization young in their career with the goal to work there for 30+ years and retiring from that company. They still hold that paradigm to be true. As a recruiter, I have been asked by many of my clients to find a talented employee with only a few years of experience who will come to work for their company for the remainder of his or her career.

Often times, these clients want to overlook the more tenured employee who can bring experience and demonstrated talent to their organizations, and who will likely stay far longer than the “30 something” who has his or her sights on leaving as soon as a better opportunity comes along. These hiring leaders mistakenly believe that a younger employee will work for them longer.

The reality is that younger workers tend to change jobs every three to five years, seeking the reward of higher compensation and also gaining a broader base of skills. However, these hiring leaders think that they can somehow encourage these younger workers to stay and are disappointed when they don’t retain them. What’s worse is, by focusing only on the younger workers in their candidate pools, they are inadvertently discriminating against the older workers.

The fact is that older workers (age 65 and older) are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce. Employees are working longer. Employees currently in their late 40’s or early 50’s will likely work for another 20+ years; especially since pensions are on the decline and people are needing to work longer in order to fund their eventual retirement.

Even with all these statistics, most companies have not changed their hiring practices and are losing out on some of the most talented workers available. The companies that recognize this shift in finding talent will be the ones who are able to obtain the best workers and experience the least amount of turnover.

So much is written today on how to attract and retain Millennials, when the focus should really be on how to hire the most talented and experienced employees.

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Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

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