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There is an untapped source of talented employees: conscientious, reliable and with good social skills.

Low skilled jobs are increasingly being taken by automation and service jobs by computers. Now, artificial intelligence is attacking jobs in the knowledge and cognitive based sectors. At the same time demand for interpersonal skills (in the care sector for example) is likely to increase.

At present, according to Baroness Altmann, former Pensions Minister, “there are more than one million 50 to 64-year-olds wanting to work who cannot find employment”. (Source: Letter to The Times)

Older workers can bring substantial experience, wisdom and insight. They are the missing talented employees. If they have their mortgage paid and a pension behind them, older workers are less likely to be insecure. Having been there, done that, they have no exaggerated need to impress.

There is evidence too that levels of retention are good. Those in the 55-64 age bracket achieve lengths of service that are more than three times those of the 25 to 34-year olds. (Source Financial Times).

Not everyone in their 60s, 70s or even 80s wants to retire. Those that don’t, often want flexibility in how they work. Time off to travel, look after grandchildren etc. Others are more than happy to take on demanding jobs, of whom Donald Trump must be one example.

Thoughts for employers

  • Flexible working can be attractive and bring in unexpected talent.
  • Be prepared to invest in teaching digital skills to older employees.
  • Consider re-training opportunities for senior employees, in preference to redundancy or early retirement.
  • Consider using older workers as excellent mentors for younger ones.
  • Be mindful of reverse-age discrimination – recruit, train, or promote on merit and you should be safe.

Don’t miss out on talented employees!

Malcolm Martin FCIPD

Author Human Resource Practice