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The case for employing mature aged workers

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As we work our way through these challenging times, one segment of New Zealanders that needs support now more than ever is our pool of mature-aged job seekers. What we don’t want to forget is the fact that there are thousands of job seekers in their mid-50’s and over who are looking for work, including many who have or will lose their jobs.

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These are mainly good people who have made a great contribution to society, families and businesses in Aotearoa over many years and who have built up a great array of experience together with life and transferable skills, which will stand them, and businesses, in good stead in these difficult times.

They deserve, at very least, to be part of the mix when employers are considering recruiting as they work their way out of the COVID-19 economic downturn. We are not suggesting that they should be guaranteed work simply because they are in their 50’s or 60’s, but let’s at least consider them and not simply throw them into a scrapheap!

Seniors@work is totally about helping our mature job seekers – it is set up by a senior as a tool to connect employers with a fantastic pool of talented, skilled and experienced people who can add real value to the workplace

As we know, many people in their 50’s have struggled to get work opportunities in the workforce for years and many believe that there is a bias against older workers. Many older job seekers have experienced age-related discrimination – if you are older, you are likely to be considered less capable and less able to adapt than your younger peers, and hence less likely to be employed.

As advocates for mature job seekers, we strongly believe that employers should bring older people back to work and give them meaningful work. There is a myth, often espoused by recruiters, that people over the age of 65 should simply retire and go and play golf, travel the world and spend more time in their gardens, but research shows that firstly, many people, particularly those who have enjoyed long and meaningful careers, do like to work, and secondly that people who stop working and retire often suffer from depression, heart attacks, and a general malaise of not having as much purpose in their lives.

Whilst for most people, our physical strength and prowess starts declining after we reach the age of 30, knowledge and expertise keep increasing even beyond the age of 80…and knowledge and expertise are surely key requisites and components of job performance?!

Let’s also acknowledge that older workers make for fantastic mentors to more junior team members and that an age-diverse workforce gives companies more insight into the marketplace, including the vast segment of older consumers.

Mature aged workers have so much to give and contribute to the workplace – if you are an employer, our plea is to at least consider an older worker for an upcoming position that you need to fill and remember that it doesn’t have to be full-time work, it could be part-time, a short-term contract, or project-based.

To encourage employers to think about “our people”, Seniors@work has heavily discounted its listing fees until the end of June by around 50%.

Ian Fraser