• United States

Maturity matters

Dec 18, 20032 mins
Data Center

* The preference for experienced, mature employees is on the rise

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas’s analysis of workplace trends shows that older workers are quickly becoming the candidates of choice to fill job vacancies and are key contributors to business success.

Mature workers have experienced substantial employment growth and reduced job search times. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers who are 55 and older have experienced the most dramatic job gains. That particular subset of the workforce gained 3 million jobs between January 2001 and November 2003.

“That is tremendous job growth, considering the state of the economy. It is perhaps the strongest indication yet that the myths which historically kept senior hiring down are finally being put to rest,” says John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm. Older workers have proven that misperceptions regarding their declining health, lack of computer skills and reduced energy are unfounded, he says.

This preference for experienced workers has also reduced the amount of time it takes unemployed executives and managers who are 50 and older to find new work. The median job search time for these folks dropped 10 times faster than that of younger job seekers over the last three quarters, according to a recent Challenger survey of 3,000 discharged managers and executives. 

Challenger points to the job listings as as anecdotal evidence that senior workers are in demand., an Internet site that connects job seekers aged 50 and up with employers, has 1,000 new job listings posted by firms such as Bank One, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boston Scientific, Household International, Lockheed Martin and SBC.

Mature employees are particularly being sought out by industries that are scrambling for talent, such as healthcare and education. Other firms are working to retain their older employees and all the institutional knowledge these staffers possess.