Good organisations will usually appreciate the benefits of having younger, fresh minds for moulding, alongside older, experienced industry professionals on their payroll. But are recruiters ensuring that hiring opportunities are equally as accessible to older professionals than they are to younger ones?
A recent survey by the REC suggests that some of the most commonly used recruitment methods are falling short of reaching the 55 and above age range. 37% of employers asked thought that the way jobs are advertised could be causing issues for this higher age band. 34% also thought that there were issues with the skills older workers possess and problems surrounding keeping these skills up to date.
So does the language used in job adverts really off put older workers? If it does, it is unlikely to be a conscious decision, more a side effect of the shift to online recruitment. With a competitive online job market and lots of vacancies attempting to be more attractive than the next, it is possible that the appeal to professionals with years and years of experience is lost along the way. This alongside psychometric testing, online screening and similar application processes means that the jobseeking process has changed an awful lot from responding to a short newspaper advert with your CV and cover letter, becoming alien to anyone who’s been in a job for twenty years.
There could also be assumptions made by recruiters that jobseeker traffic is mostly comprised of young hopefuls, and that senior staff tend to find new positions through other means; being headhunted or moving into openings within their current company.
Can more therefore be done to attract older workers? Using more traditional recruitment methods alongside online recruitment is a possibility. 17% of employers surveyed by REC though that using other recruitment methods and not advertising vacancies solely online would help to attract older staff. But the pitfalls here are clear – traditional recruitment methods can often be more time consuming and costly and are therefore not always the preferred option.
Perhaps the answer lies more in maintaining and updating the skills of senior staff, ensuring that, across the board, more training opportunities exist in a range of technical and digital skills. It also can’t hurt for companies to keep their recruitment processes as simple and easy for candidates they can – be they young or old.