Can you handle the truth? If you think you can, let me test you. The last time you interviewed an employee over age 50, were you concerned that he or she would not be able to be as productive as a 20 or 30-year-old employee?
Were you worried that the older employee might have memory or health problems, not be familiar with or be able to be trained to use new technology, or might retire before he or she completes training? Myths, myths, and more myths suddenly develop in the minds of employers when they interview an older worker (50 to 64 years of age).
The first myth that comes to mind to an employer is that an older worker might have health problems; therefore, an older worker will cost the company too much money in terms of health care premiums. It is true that older male employees do utilize more health care dollars than younger male employees; on the other hand, older male employees generally do not carry as many dependents on their health policy as younger male employees do. Therefore, any increases in health care costs older workers might generate, are likely to be offset by having fewer dependents. In regards to older female employees over age 50, they generally use less health care dollars than younger female employees because they are past childbearing age.
If absenteeism rates determine health, then older workers should be healthier than younger workers. Research has shown that absenteeism rates are lower for employees' 50 to 65 years of age than employees between 33 to 44 years of age.
Another health care problem that employers are concern about is that older workers have memory problems. The latest research shows that people do lose some of their memory ability in their working and secondary memories as they age; however, only 10 percent of people over age 65 show any significant memory impairment. Therefore, when people are at risk for memory impairment, they are usually well into their retirement years.
The second myth that comes to mind to an employer is that an older worker will not be familiar with technology or will be too difficult to train. Did you know that the fastest growing groups of new users to the Internet are those over age 40? Okay, your great grandmother may have had trouble using a computer, but research has shown that employees over age 50 are able to learn to operate a computer as well as younger employees. In terms of training, any extra training costs, such as additional one to one training, which an older worker might require, are usually offset by reduced turnover rates among older workers.
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