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The Quality of Old Time Workers Published: Sunday, July 16, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Indeed, we have profoundly researched the topics of children, young people and new hires within institutions. But, what about older job applicants? What is the state of knowledge with respect to older employees? This is what we have learned and found. In terms of the popular misconception that older employees are slower to learn and to approach new realities or are slower to job performance, this is not always the case. Many organizations that hire older applicants consistently do not find that the above statement is always true.

What research clearly indicates is that older applicants are more business-like in their approach to their job situation. Their maturity tends to make them more responsible. So, why some organizations like older workers and professionals?.

Absolute rules about any group are different to sustain. Among the factors favoring the hiring, rehiring and promotion of older employees the following have been identified through empirical research.

Older employees are more familiar with employer-employee give and take situations and requirements. They are more likely to comply with policies and have less discipline problems. They are also less likely to engage in abusive behaviors regarding employee privileges. Older employees tend to understand overall corporate objectives and are more business like in dealing with customers and outsiders. Findings also tend to suggest that, mature professionals show higher reliability on assignments, and are more likely to work overtime and weekends. Of course, these findings are not always true for every older professional and worker, and certainly not in every type of operation.

There still has to be a certain amount of care at the selection and recruitment process for any would-be worker at any age. Quality management requires that each situation be judged on its own merits or drawbacks. Any attempt to bar people for employment or promotion strictly on age (besides being against the law, which is not the emphasis here) is cutting off a source of potentially good people. After all, it is like George Burns said at age 90: "Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65 I still had pimples".


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