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Editor's Note: In this recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Professor Peter Cappelli discusses two factors that face older job hunters - age discrimination and fear.
"...why aren't we seeing more older employees in the workforce? The problem seems to be getting them in the door in the first place Discrimination is certainly one reason. Evidence suggests that we are more biased in our views of older individuals than we are of minorities and women. It's easy to see that bias if we compare the images that come to mind when we contrast the words 'older,' which brings up negative stereotypes, and 'experienced,' which brings up positive ones...
...The other challenge is fear. Younger supervisors are often afraid of managing older employees because these older works have more experience than they do. The less experienced managers may wonder, How can I say, do this because I know best when often I don't know best?..."The article stresses that employers need to toss aside these biases and worries. Cappelli believes that hiring older workers can be a benefit to companies if they strive to do the following:
- Acknowledge and use their experience.
- Give them face time with customers.
- Integrate them into the companies to form a cohesive team