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Truths About Older Workers

An older man wearing a brown apron smiles as he takes a break from stocking shelves at a supermarket.

As you market yourself to potential employers, it's important to understand the qualities that you bring to the table that can best benefit them. You can help yourself be competitive in the job market by being able to talk freely about what you can offer as an employee.

  • Practical skills - Older adults tend to have superior interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and are generally better able to deal with co-workers and customers than their younger counterparts. They also know how to maintain contacts and relationships and seek help when necessary.
  • Patience - Years of experience gives older workers the patience to step back and think objectively, rather than react emotionally in stressful situations.
  • Productivity - Workplace wisdom often is the greatest asset of an older worker. Every aspect of job performance improves with experience, especially productivity. Older workers generally know where to invest time and effort to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Reliability - Older workers generally use fewer sick days than younger workers. Also, a 50-year-old employee is likely to remain with an employer longer than a 20 or 30-year-old.
  • Focus - Older workers are generally better able than younger workers to avoid non-work distractions, such as family and social media.
  • Ability to learn - Training costs related to older workers are typically lower. Most older workers have seen many technologies and techniques come and go over their years of work. Experience with other ways to do things, coupled with awareness of related topics, gives them an edge when it comes to learning new approaches.
  • Lower health care costs - Older workers tend to have lower health care costs, as most do not have children as dependents on their health care plans. In addition, workers age 65 and older are eligible for Medicare, which can further reduce an employer's health care costs.
  • Safety - Older workers are less likely than younger workers to have workplace accidents, and the causes of those accidents differ. While it is true that we all experience physical and cognitive changes as we age, experience very often helps older workers more fully compensate for loss of ability.