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Age is just a number: Advantages to hiring “mature” workers

By Elizabeth Wood West

Business owners and managers have a set of metrics that they use when hiring workers. How important to them is age when looking at a potential new hire? Depending on the position a business is looking to fill, it may already have a preconceived age range in mind. For example, if a business is hiring someone to do full-time physical labor, there may be a preference to interview candidates that are in their 20s or 30s. However, if they are looking to hire someone for an administrative, sales, customer service or production position, removing a preconceived age range from the hiring metrics could have some advantages.

In general, “mature” workers (age 50 and older) may bring a wealth of talent and experience to the job, and there may be benefits to considering them for hiring, including:

  • Experienced – They may have previous training, skills and abilities to handle workplace challenges.
  • Educated – In addition to standard educational requirements, they may have other certifications and licenses.
  • Adaptable – By working at different companies, they have likely learned how to stay current with new processes and technology during their career.
  • Flexible – They may be open to contract and part-time jobs.
  • Affordable – They may not require medical and/or other benefits.
  • Motivated – They often show a commitment to working and earning an income well beyond typical retirement age.

The Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey of attitudes toward mature workers, and found that 60% of the 308 human resources departments surveyed said that older workers are more reliable and 59% said mature workers have a stronger work ethic than younger ones.

Labor force trends are showing an increase in mature workers across the country. Denver’s senior labor force participation rate was 19.3% in 2014 and rose to 22.2% in 2018. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers age 50 and older are the fastest growing demographic in the labor force. They make up 32% of Colorado’s population and contribute 42% to its GDP. Given these factors, mature workers could be a great asset for businesses.



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