Age is more than just a number

Oct 26, 2017
Each organisation has a need for employees who are dependable, loyal, trustworthy, motivated and mature. To attract and recruit such a valuable resource, employers need to be creative and ‘look outside the box’ when recruiting. They should recognise the business benefits of experience and maturity. There are certainly advantages to recruiting what on paper may be an over experienced candidate for a role.

Biological time is a state of mind, and senior chartered accountants continue to be as skilled and as discerning as they were in their middle years. They continue to learn, to assess and to affect discriminating judgements. Employers need to realise that such professionals want to continue making a meaningful contribution to a business.

NEWS BODY - Age is more than just a number

The demographic of our workforce is changing with older employees growing in number. This coincides with a time where there are increasing challenges for organisations who are seeking to recruit and retain talent. For smart organisation who are open minded when it comes to their recruitment process this can represent a real opportunity for them if they realise that everyone, irrespective of their age, has something to bring to an organisation. Diversity is healthy. Having a more diverse workforce which includes a range of ages, experience, disciplines and cultures can assist an organisation enormously. It can bring a new perspective, challenge the status quo and act a stimulus for new initiatives.

Obviously younger finance professionals can have the same technical skills, knowledge and competencies as their older counterparts. However mature employees can offer other skills and real life work experience and perspectives that their younger counterparts can’t.

The following are the benefits of hiring a mature candidate:

Experience

Mature employees bring with them ‘Experience’ in the broadest sense of the word - life experience. This can be a huge advantage in the current environment as organisations need employees who have experienced the ups and downs of the commercial world. Typically the real challenges are presented during an economic downturn and this can be a true test of a candidate’s capabilities.  
If an employee has a track record of achieving in these situations they are more likely to do so again. This ‘experience’ is likely to result in higher levels of self confidence which in turn can instill confidence in those around them making it easier for them to manage and motivate a team. This is a huge benefit in a climate where financial rewards are not available to use as a motivational tool.

Michael D Higgins President was 70 when he was elected and is 76 now!

Clear Thinking

Experience means that a person is less likely to be ‘rattled’ by a challenging scenario. Mature candidates can be better equipped to make decisions, understanding the implications and consequences of decisions taken.  As a result of this higher level of emotional intelligence, mature employees have the ability to make objective decisions and possess strong judgement skills.

Ken Whitaker who died earlier this year aged 100 was the most influential public servant in the history of the State, both during his professional career and in retirement when he continued to advise governments of the day on Northern Ireland as well as the economy.

Loyalty

Mature candidates bring with them a great propensity for loyalty and pride in a job well done. This was instilled in their traditional upbringing. ‘A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ was often the mantra used.  During this time the culture was also based on ‘a job for life’ and generally employees did not move jobs as frequently. Therefore, by recruiting a mature candidate you could be gaining an employee with a strong work ethic who will remain committed to the role and the organisation for the long term.

High levels of motivation

If a candidate has been out of work for some time and is then offered a role the sense of gratitude that they feel for having a job can reinforce loyalty to the organisation. They will have a vested interest in making the role work as they realise how difficult it can be to find such an opportunity again in the current environment.

Productivity

A track record of successfully transitioning experience and competencies is a huge advantage to an organisation. Employees with greater levels of experience tend to hit the ground running, making a more immediate impact in a role.  This will result in a less costly induction process and a quicker return on investment for an employer.

Senior level employees can act as role models for more junior team members. They can demonstrate and display the skills, competencies and behaviours that you develop as your progress in your career therefore setting a good example that others can learn from.

Act as mentors

Based on the wealth of experience and empathy mature employees bring to a role they can competently act as mentors to more junior staff members.  Levels of intellectual capital and business acumen will increase as a result. The mentors lead by example and impart learning and experiences in doing so. Beneficial symbiotic relationships developed in this way contribute to the success and bottom line of a business.

Chartered Accountants Ireland operates a Mentor Programme through which many members have benefited from the insights, experiences and knowledge of their more senior fellow members. This in turn has been of benefit to employers.

Feargal Quinn (80) still has a hectic schedule acting as a mentor to Irish SMEs as well as being a businessman, television personality and an independent member of Seanad Éireann.

Improved communication levels

Maturity often leads to higher levels of emotional intelligence. This is a huge advantage when it comes to communicating in the business world. Understanding the intricacies of organisations, cultures, politics and personalities can be a great tool and can increase the effectiveness of communications. It can help in terms of influencing the decision making process and building strong and profitable business relationships.

Garrett Fitzgerald (85) continued to make a huge contribution to Ireland right up to the time of his death. President Mary Mc Aleese described him as ‘a man steeped in the history of the State who constantly strove to make Ireland a better place for all its people’.

Contacts

Over the course of their career mature candidates will have developed a strong network of specialist contacts. This can be of significant benefit to an organisation. Networking is a crucial part of business today and any additional introductions a business can access can prove to be very lucrative.

Technical skills

Strong technical knowhow, not just from a theoretical perspective but also a comprehensive appreciation of the practical applications and implications, are skills that one can only develop over time. This skillset adds significantly to the intellectual capital within an organisation. Consequently a business with this in-house advantage will not need to spend money on buying in additional expertise.

Overview

Each organisation has a need for employees who are dependable, loyal, trustworthy, motivated and mature. To attract and recruit such a valuable resource, employers need to be creative and ‘look outside the box’ when recruiting. They should recognise the business benefits of experience and maturity. There are certainly advantages to recruiting what on paper may be an over experienced candidate for a role.