They say age is a matter of the mind and that if you’re not worried about it one bit, it really doesn’t matter. But often, on a hectic day, when the pressure of work is at its highest, I’ve seen that age really does matter. Now, you’re probably thinking I’m going to rave about how young people can take more of a beating and that the title was just a way to get you in. But no. I really mean it when I say: You should hire people over 40.
The fact is that I’ve often felt that those over the age of 40 have shown support and lent stability to the team at a time when it really did matter. People who know me could say that this is ironic, and that’s because I run something called the “Toledo Under 40 Real Estate Meet Up.” This meet up is actually the reason that I’ve been called prejudiced towards those over 40 years of age. I’ve actually been blasted on numerous occasions by older folks on BiggerPockets.
But let me tell you this today. Most of the employees at my company are over 40 years old, and they bring plenty to the table. Not just their experience, but their expertise, stability, level-headedness, and creativity. All of these add to the company’s talent pool. So for companies out there hiring, I’ll give you three reasons why you should hire people over the age of 40. And if you’re an HR expert, a recruitment professional, or just anyone who doesn’t agree with what I have to say, then do leave your comments. I’d love to hear your point of view, too.
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My reason number one for preferring older people over the younger ones is the stability factor. I’ve seen that more often than not, Millennials come into organizations thinking that the world owes them something. This generation sometimes isn’t willing to do the amount of work it takes, but wants to be treated on par with the experienced lot.
In fact, our own hiring statistics support this statement overwhelmingly. Over the last three years, we have hired and fired over 20 people under the age of 40 for that exact reason. These younger people are often so spoiled that they’re always looking for the next best opportunity and are unwilling to focus on what’s at hand. Remember the idiom “one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? Well, Millennials are so busy looking for those two birds that they pay little attention to what they have in hand.
The over 40 age group, on the other hand, lends stability and knows what it takes to achieve something. They are willing to put in the hours and treat the work like their very own. They don’t need gentle nudging and constant reminders. And they know both the roles and responsibilities of being on the top of the ladder. The dedication they bring to organizations is also invaluable. And this dedication stems from the fact that these people work to provide not just for themselves but for their families as well. Perhaps that’s the reason why the employees who’ve been with us for the longest time are over the age of 40 years.
I also feel that today’s generation can come with a lot of attitude. While a positive attitude is good, overconfidence can bring you down in a matter of seconds. Many Millennials have been told that entrepreneurship gets them the “CEO and Founder” tag immediately, and they want to settle for nothing less in other organizations, too. While you may argue that ambition is a good thing, let me tell you this: Ambition is worthless without the drive to work for it.
The older segment, however, comes with experience. And more importantly, they come into the organization with passion and drive that form huge advantages along with their wealth of work experience. They know that a “Founder and CEO” tag is pointless without putting in the work, and they’re past the phase of working to show off. At that age, most of them have also figured out what they want to achieve and are able to work and be far more satisfied.
While Millennials are definitely hungry for a better future, many keep telling themselves that they have a world of opportunities ahead of them and don’t need to work hard yet. For many, status is more important than their work, and they’re busy spending their money on fancy gizmos and an overzealous lifestyle. They also often feel underpaid, yet don’t put in the necessary work.
At the age of 40, people have a deeper hunger for meaning in their lives. This is a strong motivator and helps them to perform much better than their younger counterparts. They’ve embraced the fact that there’s much to learn in the world, and that the process is a continuous one.
Psychologist Erik Erikson adds to that by explaining that each human passes through eight developmental stages. The age of 40 to 64 is in the seventh stage and that is where productivity and creativity pop into view. Add to that a desire to mentor others and the need to generate value not just for themselves, but also for others, and you’ve got a powerful cocktail that just spells “awesome employee.”
All said and done, for those who’re prejudiced (in fact, many on BiggerPockets say that I’m one of them!) against older people, I know you have your reasons. After all, a lot of people over 40 wouldn’t dream of working for a younger manager. And then there are others who prefer just doing things the same old way without adapting to the new. But then, that’s just a small segment of the above 40 age group.
Consider Over 40 Employees
Today, there is plenty of age discrimination, as many organizations prefer to hire people below 40 rather than over it. The reasons they state for hiring in this age group are rather unusual. Some feel that younger employees are easier to train and much more efficient at work. Others feel that the high level of qualifications of the senior employees allows them to leave whenever a new opportunity passes by.
But all these assumptions are baseless. For one, many employees in general would bolt if a better opportunity passed them by. And secondly, any employee can be easy to train, as long as they have an open mind for that training. These are people with expertise, and just as you need the young, nimble people to work in your organization, you need the stability more experienced folks lend to organizations, too.
Don’t Let Age Stand in Your Way
In fact, when you’re able to hire people over 40, you are able to get expertise and experience into the organization, all at one go. So don’t be narrow-minded when recruiting, and don’t let someone’s older age stand in your way. For those who feel I’m being too harsh on the young generation, I have a great piece of advice. Don’t let it get to you! Improve your skill-set, learn the new tricks in the dynamic market, and don’t let the world decide whether you’re employable or not! You decide that for yourself and the world. All you have to do is put in the work.
Most of my employees are over 40, and it’s one of our greatest strengths. There are only three people younger than 40. I’d say we have a very strong team, and I feel that those over 40 years of age bring plenty of skills to the organization. They may not be as gung-ho as their younger counterparts, but when it comes to getting a job done efficiently, they are the ones to turn to. In fact, they’re the only ones that were good enough for me to keep them.
So for every company that’s out there hiring, I strongly advise you to look at hiring folks over the age of 40. Remember, age is just a matter of the mind.
Do you agree or disagree with this assessment?
Be sure to let me know your opinion with a comment!