Attracting “Older” Professionals to Your Company Will Be Key This Year. Here’s Why.
In a culture where youth is so esteemed for its energy, creativity, and tech know-how, it’s important to keep sight of the value that older, more experienced professionals bring to the business arena. While it’s true that Baby Boomers (people born between 1946-1964) aren’t “digital natives,” they have other native qualities and characteristics that members of younger generations often lack. A well-managed multi-generational staff that has learned to work together and fill in each other’s gaps brings with it a complete, comprehensive package of positive traits and strengths that successfully fill in any of the chinks you might otherwise have in your company armor.
Following are some of the best reasons why you should not discount “aged” professionals as you seek to fill important, executive-level positions in your company this year and in the future. Throughout this discussion, please keep in mind that all employees and candidates are individuals; don’t be hasty in applying these generalizations—although they are fact and science-based—to every person who happens to fall into a certain age category. You will always find exceptions to every rule.
They Have More Experience
Baby Boomers have lived more, seen more, and done more in their professional lives than their youthful counterparts, simply by virtue of having been around longer. As cliché as it sounds, they really do have the wisdom that comes with experience.
Especially when it comes to management, a more seasoned professional is a great choice because it’s unlikely for a scenario that could flummox them to present itself. They’ve most likely seen it (or something like it) before and can draw upon previous strategies and outcomes to lead any foundering ship safely back to harbor.
They Cope Better With The ‘New Normal’
Specifically in this COVID era, Baby Boomers are reporting higher levels of adaptability to working from home. When the pandemic hit and remote work became the norm, millennials—who currently make up the largest percentage of the workforce—struggled to adapt. This fact may surprise you, as they are generally more comfortable with the technology that facilitates remote work. However, only 60 percent of Millennials reported that they feel as productive working from home, whereas 72 percent of Baby Boomers claimed that doing so does not negatively affect their productivity.
The following factors most likely contribute to older professionals’ greater comfort with remote working:
- They are usually more financially secure.
- They generally don’t have small children at home.
They are more likely to have space they can dedicate to a home office, as opposed to in small apartments with roommates.
They Handle Stress Better
Baby Boomers may not be the multi-taskers that Millennials and younger generations are, but they seem to have more stable mental and emotional health and stress-coping strategies, as a general rule. Again, the current pandemic is a great example.
According to PBS News Hour, pandemic research suggests that older people are managing COVID better than any other generational cohort on the mental and emotional front. Part of this phenomenon could be because of the previously-mentioned age and experience—they’ve seen hard times through several times already. They therefore tend to recognize when they can change stressful situations and when they can’t, and they adapt their problem-resolution approaches accordingly. It’s easy to see how a business can benefit from letting cooler heads prevail.
They Stay Put
Research supports the notion that Baby Boomers are the most loyal generation in the workforce today. The norm they grew up with and practiced was that one joined a company, committed to said company, and worked one’s way to the top. They are far less likely to job-hop, partially because of this mindset and partially because they are closer to retirement than their younger co-workers and are therefore more likely view a position as their end game.
They Are Hard Workers
Baby Boomers have a tremendous work ethic. Sally Kane, an attorney and writer for The Balance Careers, asserts that “Baby Boomers are motivated by position, perks, and prestige. [They] relish long work weeks and define themselves by their professional accomplishments.” Generally, they are self-motivated and don’t have to be asked twice to complete a task, focus on their work, or implement best practices.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how a seasoned professional with a large store of experience, strong coping mechanisms, a settled lifestyle, stable mental health, loyalty, and a terrific work ethic can benefit your company. Don’t overlook these human resources; attracting them to your company can be a key indicator for your success.
By Octavio Lepe
Director, Executive Search
Octavio is the search practice leader for Sales & Marketing, Agribusiness, and D&I in the Americas.
Barbachano International (BIP) is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Latin America, & Canada) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Since 1992, BIP and its affiliates have served over 50% of Fortune 500 Companies and have been recognized by Forbes as a Top 40 executive search firm. Outplacement and Executive Coaching services are provided by our sister allied company Challenger Gray & Christmas. We are supported by our NPAworldwide partner offices in over 50 countries.