Ageism and its limiting effects on your hiring choices
Ageism is often a subtle problem in the world of hiring. Most employers value the knowledge, confidence and leadership qualities that can develop in high performers with a veritable wealth of experience.
On the other hand, the digitization and emphasis on being able to fully utilize emerging technologies is at a premium. Companies want those individuals who take to technology as second nature, raised in it and comfortable with learning new and advanced technological concepts.
We can often miss ageism
The words contained within the previous paragraph are a potential example of ageism. When reading that paragraph it may be implied, while not intended, that insurance industry veterans may not be willing or capable of handling the adoption and everyday use of new tech.
Ageism can be subtle—even unintentional—or it might be blatant, telling someone they don’t fit, that they are slow or don’t connect with “our current strategy.” Unfortunately, outstanding talent can be overlooked due to age, leading many hiring managers and recruiters alike to underutilize a professionally agile and growing section of the workforce.
Professionals are working longer
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that, by 2060, nearly 30 percent of professionals 65 and older will still be working, as younger demographics have experienced much slower growth.
Hiring more experienced, older workers will give many companies an advantage. Older professionals will identify with a large section of the workforce and can relate to their challenges and experience within their industry.
Misconceptions about innovation
Research has shown there is literally no correlation between age and diminishing levels of innovation—a common pseudo scientific and statistical ageism argument. The Kauffman Foundation, an organization dedicated to education and entrepreneurship, determined that more innovation and business development occurs between the ages of 55 and 64 than within any other age group.
It is widely accepted and proven that a diverse workplace is more innovative. By combining and comparing the perspectives of different ethnicities, social, political and cultural backgrounds, by having professionals of all adult age groups interact, many companies discover novel and unexpected solutions they would not have discovered otherwise.
Millennials want mentors
Millennials currently make up the majority of the workforce, but keeping them may be a matter connecting them the reservoir of experience present in those more senior employees and leaders.
Many millennials leave positions if they feel there are no opportunities to grow and learn. They are a generation seeking more inclusive and open workplaces, free of micromanagement and favoring guidance over commands. By providing an experienced mentor they can rely upon and confide in, it will go a long way to establishing a working environment where they can feel comfortable honing their skills and taking chances that may yield fantastic results because they know they have a mentor’s support.
Inclusion and opportunity
We must as recruiters and hiring managers push back against the ageism bias. We must have frank conversations when it appears age is the only reason one candidate is considered over another.
A strategy to avoid this can be conducting interviews with more than one person. By inviting a variety of individuals into the process, a more fair assessment can be reached, especially if those employees are prepared to give close attention to what the position requires. By incorporating the input from multiple sources, a review can be compiled that focuses on a candidate’s core competencies and some of their abilities—as opposed to arbitrarily focusing on a singular attribute, such as age.
At The James Allen Companies we want to make sure every talented person gets a fair chance to contribute. Ageism has no place in the insurance industry hiring. We can help you build your teams to be productive, diverse and inclusive.