Does age positively or negatively matter in business environments? If we are lucky, we all get to age. In the business workplace, age, having many years under your belt, has been viewed as a negative. Working in the high street mainstream recruitment industry in the 1990s, permanent positions were exclusively for the younger job seekers. If older candidates, those outside of the client specified criteria (yes, this happened, they’d make a list of what they wanted and didn’t want), had the relevant job experience and knowledge, they were not shortlisted for interview. Older applicants were routinely dismissed and rejected based on how old they were.
Moving on through the years
It was only when moving to specialist search and selection, and headhunting, did this rejection of older applicants disappear. In the 1990s, working in a newly emerging marketspace, age meant maturity and experience meant knowledge. USA software companies settling in the UK needed the age and experience of candidates to launch their products and services. Interestingly, Software Houses didn’t want to be seen as new, or lacking in gravitas. As a result of this, they approached recruitment differently. They recruited experienced territory managers who had years of knowledge working in the industry and, due to their years in the workplace, we deemed mature. The US companies offered attractive salaries, pensions, healthcare, bonuses, and generous car allowances. Their approach to recruitment worked, and nowadays, many companies use the CRM (customer relationship management) systems originally introduced to the UK in the 1990s.
Age is a positive
A number of things happen to us as we gather up the years. Our independence of mind often develops later in life. Additionally, we can spot patterns with other people’s emotional states, and calmness is sought out by our brains. Furthermore, calmness is very much central to our happiness. Next is our creativity, and we retain our creative abilities right through our 60s and beyond into our 80s. In the same way, our ability to be self-compassionate comes to the fore and is a key feature for resilience. Getting older also means our brains get better at taking in different perceptions and enhance our ability to see the bigger picture.
The featured photo is an older stag taking a creative approach to antler dressing.