- Future of Talent
- Nov 02
Why mature-aged workers are the number 1 blind spot for companies when recruiting
Facing ‘The Great Resignation’, socially aware and economically savvy companies are realising the benefits of age diversity when recruiting and managing their workforce.
Mature-age workers may be the secret weapon in the battle for securing high-value talent post-pandemic and the key to providing age diversity in the workforce for corporates.
A study by Microsoft says that more than 40 per cent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employers this year.
Labelled ‘The Great Resignation’, this talent exodus has been considered a threat for the last decade, but the pressures of COVID-19 have brought it to fruition.
The pandemic has exposed hiring practices, burnout and the inflexibility of some workplaces, especially when it comes to mature-age workers.
Enlightened companies know that the key to attracting diverse talent for organisations is a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which covers tangible benefits such as salary and bonuses, alongside intangibles such as culture, training, and career opportunities.
Simply put, the EVP is why people want to work for a company.
While many companies talk about a strong EVP, few actually ‘walk the talk’.
Challenging times like the pandemic have taught us that EVPs obviously need to evolve. However, simply initiating a move towards flexibility may not stop mass resignations.
A 2021 study by PWC looked at the EVP, concluding that the struggle to attract talent throughout the pandemic demonstrated what it called a “sense of restlessness” in employees.
The study, called The Future of Work, what workers want: winning the war for talent, examined 1800 employees and identified an expectations gap between what workers want and what their leaders think they want.
The study demonstrated that the next year would see many people looking to move jobs as the economy returns to pre-pandemic levels, perhaps because employees are attempting to regain control of their careers after an uncertain time.
It concluded that companies’ ability to attract and retain key talent – and minimise fallout from The Great Resignation – would be compromised if the EVP doesn’t provide what workers want.
Richard Sauerman, the Brand Guy, says that it’s time to ‘flip the thinking’ about recruitment.
Sauerman works with large companies to identify and capture their brand which, in turn, supports the EVP.
“I go in and talk to the whole leadership team to discover the truth of the brand and what the company’s all about,” he explains. “I help them identify what their purpose is, what their intentions are and how they see their people.”
“Then I create a brand blueprint. And two elements of that flow into what I call brand on the outside, which is the marketing side of it, and then brand on the inside.”<
“Brand on the inside is all the culture and values – our purpose, our reason for being; all the stuff that adds meaning and purpose to employees because they believe they are not here just to make another dollar, they are here to make a contribution.”
“When there’s a description of the kind of culture you want, the sort of values that are going to drive that culture and the behaviours that are going to make those values real, then I say, ‘this is fine, but you really need to walk your talk’.
“You need to take it a step further and have an employee value proposition. There’s lots of different ways to do it, but it’s underpinned with tangible features such as perks, benefits and things that the company offers its employees.”
Sauerman says he puts the EVP into what he calls five buckets:
- Work: the kind of work, the work environment, is it flexible
- Pay and remuneration
- Recognition, such as reward programs, achievements and milestones
- Career growth and development
Part of the solution to The Great Resignation resides in building a more age-inclusive workforce.
Organisations need capable and qualified employees with the experience and know-how to get the job done without being a flight risk.
Because, while companies are seeing this balance of power shifting from employers to employees, many have been ignoring the rich skills and experience of mature-aged workers who are available and want to work.
Workers over 45 years could even be the solution to The Great Resignation, creating ‘the great reinstatement’.
However, many organisations have become blind to the risks, effects, and lost opportunities of age discrimination. Perceptions about the value of mature-age workers are distorted and outdated, and career and recruitment systems are designed against hiring mature-aged people.
Sometimes referred to as ‘hidden in plain sight’, mature-aged employees have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic, especially during the first few months of 2020.
A significant number of professional workers in the over-45 age group found themselves unemployed for the first time and joined the Jobactive program, which is the Australian Government’s employment service to help people into work and help employers find the right staff for their business.
Not yet eligible for the pension or aged care, many of these people are caught between employment and retirement: perceived as being too old to work and too young to retire.
Creating an age-positive culture is essential for companies wishing to create a point of difference from their competitors in the job market of the future.
Multigenerational workplaces with a greater mix of workers at all ages are seen to have a better chance of success than those with a pyramid of larger numbers of younger workers and relatively few older workers.
Sauerman says it’s time that companies look at how they view potential employees and what they bring to the organisation when recruiting, which means they should be considering older people with career experience.
The maturious approach using a lifetime of accumulated employment biodata to map the Job DNA of mature-aged workers is the way of the future.
The missed opportunity costs of not hiring people who bring unrivalled knowledge and experience, many acquired capabilities, a good work ethic and high job commitment, are immeasurable.
In addition, there could be seen to be a societal responsibility to provide opportunities for the thousands of mature-age workers who can’t get a job because they’re “too old”.
Maturious CEO, David Tarr, says mature age employees are looking for employers who promote career opportunities for people mid-life and beyond.
They want and expect open and fair access to career development, training and progression.
“Contrary to outdated stereotypes, mature-age employees still want to be stretched and challenged,” he says.
“By opening up employers’ recruitment processes to mature-age workers – whose talents are undervalued by traditional recruitment models – we increase every employer’s chance of hiring the best person for the job, as well as proactively address the issue of employment discrimination against older people.”
Tarr says that it’s all about hiring for age, positively, with appropriate recruitment campaigns, even using suitable imagery and wording when demonstrating a company’s EVP to show that it is age-ready.
“There are myths to bust with a lot of organisations’ hiring practices,” he says.
“We believe a multi-generational workforce makes a company stronger. We need to start debunking those myths and challenging unconscious biases. We have to normalise a multi-generational workforce and start respecting each generation for different skillsets.”
Maturious’ Talent-as-a-Service platform matches the Job DNA of a vacant role to the specific capabilities of mature-age candidates. This not only leads to the hiring of top talent, but strengthens employment brands by enabling age-diversity in the workforce.
Importantly, the Maturious platform de-biases the talent acquisition and matching function through employment biodata-driven analyses and capability evaluation tools to accurately assess and match mature age candidates to roles. It eliminates the risk of skills mismatching and misjudgements caused by bias or false logic.
Ultimately, it is also in every employee’s long-term interest to create a diverse workforce that includes representatives from different generations, each bringing a different worldview, says Tarr.
“Growing older is something that we all hope to do – and certainly better than the alternative,” he says.