Is a Graying Workforce a Better Workforce?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- With more than one-third of the workforce in the U.S. expected to be more than 50 years of age by 2022, there’s no doubt payrolls are graying -- but that may not be a bad thing.

"Older workers undoubtedly bring a number of advantages to the workplace that should make recruiters think twice about frequently hiring younger," said Dan Finnigan, CEO of applicant tracking software developer Jobvite.

New research from the AARP shows 35.4% of the workforce is expected to be more than 50 years old by 2022. During just this past decade alone, the number of workers ages 50 to 59 grew by 28%, and workers ages 60 to 69 grew a whopping 72%, the study found.

Finnigan, however, said older workers with longer resumes and more work experience provide less risk compared to candidates in their 40s and 50s. He added older workers typically also are much more self-aware of themselves.

"People in their 20s are genuinely excited about figuring out who they are, and that instills a lot of passion in them," Finnigan said. "The problem, however, is that they can take your company along with them on that journey. People who are older have already gone through this time in their lives -- and they often times know themselves better."

The AARP study found similar positives to having workers more than 50 years old on payroll, including professionalism, work ethic, low turnover and high knowledge.

"Just as today’s 50-plus population is redefining aging and eroding negative stereotypes, today’s 50-plus workforce is adding value by exhibiting traits that are highly sought after in today’s economy," said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins in her foreword to the study.

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