Older adults will be the engine of the business in the near future, so companies with a setup process of hiring and onboarding them, like KamadoSpace, will be in pole position soon.
Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Although businesses keep talking about an acute labor shortage, workers over 50 often feel discriminated against based on age, and are considered to have bad computer literacy skills and unable to adapt to innovation. Experts strongly suggest looking back at older adults as the population ages. And the companies which employ them, like KamadoSpace, emphasize that candidates over 50 have much more experience, knowledge, and are more responsible.
“Sustainability and inclusion are very important to us. We adhere to the best environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices. But that’s not the reason we hire older adults. It’s their expertise”, says Mindaugas Voldemaras, CEO of KamadoSpace, a company that designs and manufactures outdoor grill islands, a type of furniture for Kamado grills.
Labor market experts, quoting statistical data, say that candidate age is no longer as important a criterion as it was before the pandemic. COVID, unexpectedly, has helped somewhat. After a global slump in migration and the tightening of the labor market, less older adults are quitting jobs and more of them are trying to get one after a period of inactivity. Businesses are starting to warm to the idea that soon a large part of the workforce will be 50+ or even 60+.
And warm to this they should. EU institutions predict that by 2060 in Europe, one in three inhabitants will be over 65. A similar trend of increasing life expectancy and reversal of the population pyramid (more older people than young people) will be followed by the rest of the world’s developed countries.
And they will become the engine of the so-called “silver economy”. Therefore, companies with older adults in their teams, and a setup process of hiring and onboarding them, will be in pole position soon.
“Taking into account today’s staff shortages, older residents could be a salvation for many companies”, says Mindaugas.
He says he had about 30 job interviews when his company was searching for a designer-engineer. Almost all of them were a disappointment. There were many cases when young people, who had just graduated from university, were asked engineering or basic math and chemistry questions, like: What is the composition of the steel? And they couldn’t answer. Other ones said they could easily find answers on the internet.
“I do not doubt their ability to google stuff, but if you consider yourself an engineer, you should know those things by heart. That’s why we hired a designer-engineer with over 45 years of experience”, says Mindaugas.
The man he mentions is Algimantas Navaslauskas (68). He was the oldest candidate, easily answered all the job interview questions, and surpassed all others.
Algimantas worked as a designer-constructor for many years. However, when he decided to return to the labor market after a recuperating from an injury, he did not immediately receive a positive answer. His search for a new job took about half a year.
"When we received Algimantas’s CV, I called him immediately. He was surprised, and said: ‘have you seen my CV, the year I was born?’ ‘I did’. I said, ‘this is not a problem at all. I don't see how the experience could ever be a problem’. He then explained that he applied here and there, but after a phone call or the first interview, companies made it clear they needed younger people”, says Mindaugas.
Other forward-looking companies in Europe, like Daimler in Germany, which has about 136,000 employees with an average age of 44.7 years, are also starting to deal with the problem. One of Mercedes manufacturers' initiatives is an online platform where older employees make videos about the company's complex processes. These videos help other generations learn from the elders. In addition, the company has introduced more flexible shifts that allow older employees to work fewer hours. The company is also testing tools that reduce the physical burden on older factory workers.
Experts agree that experience is a big bonus for medical professionals, engineers, writers, actors, and many other professions. However, the candidates themselves are often to blame. Many older adults do not speak foreign languages, some do not have computer skills or avoid using technologies altogether. Their experience is very important, but they should not be afraid to learn new skills. To prevent this generation from being excluded from the labor market, candidates should be bolder. At the same time, businesses and governments should be more open minded and lead by example.
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