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Along with the advent of spring, we’re celebrating Older American’s Month this May, an observation promoted each year by the Administration on Aging (AoA) to “show appreciation and support for our seniors as they continue to enrich and strengthen our communities.”

The Bureau of Labor reports that over 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is comprised of workers age 55 and older. This fast-growing segment of the labor market has consistently been a source for skilled, reliable labor for employers in all industries.

The benefits of hiring older workers are numerous. Employers have remarked on the flexibility of these employees, who can be tapped for special projects, part-time, and contract work. Many of older workers may already be partially retired but do not want to fully exit the workforce. In this case, employers can develop contracts specifying part-time or temporary work to retain their skills without the high cost of fringe benefits, a major concern for many companies.

Older workers also have the competitive advantage of years already spent in the workforce honing their expertise and developing a rich tapestry of skills that can be applied to a wide range of projects. They can be employed in managerial and executive positions without the risk that may come with hiring younger, less experienced employees. In addition, many older workers are natural team leaders, a trait that comes with years of working alongside all walks of life.

The mature employee has other invaluable assets that are not automatically found in younger workers. Recent studies by the AARP identify unique traits such as superior communication skills, lower absenteeism, less likelihood of being a job hopper, and punctuality that make employing an older worker ideal.

Older workers have succeeded in blotting out the myth that they are averse to change and technology. Case in point, the AARP posits that a growing number of mature workers are going back to school and obtaining degrees, advancing skills, obtaining certifications, and embracing technology as avidly as their younger counterparts.

Given these points, it is crucial that employers develop recruiting initiatives to target older workers. These natural-born leaders and accomplished professionals play an important part in mentoring the next generation of leaders and carving out exciting new advancements in the employment landscape.

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