Recruitment: Why age should be no barrier
Monday, August 12, 2013/
In many industries, the toughest jobs to land are your first one, and your last.
Think back to when you were younger. Landing that first job in your chosen profession was tough. You had the work ethic, qualifications, skills and ideas, but lacked paid industry experience.
For many kids, it’s a vicious paradox. They can’t get that paid industry experience without getting a job in the industry – but they can’t land a job without paid industry experience.
At the other end of the jobs market, especially in industries such as IT, finding a job can be exceptionally difficult once you’re in your 50s and 60s. Having a lifetime of skills and experience in your profession counts for little when the recruiter thinks you mightn’t still be working for the company in five years.
This age discrimination at both ends of the spectrum poses a golden opportunity for smart entrepreneurs looking to hire staff.
In many ways, young people make the ideal start-up employees. Roles and procedures are usually far less tightly pinned down in a small business than they could in a big bureaucratic organisation.
This means young whipper-snappers have latitude to do things they’d never get the opportunity to try in a big organisation. The opportunity – the necessity – to do things beyond their job description might mean that they are able to be promoted faster than they would in a bureaucracy.
Meanwhile, your young staff are not already indoctrinated in the bubble of your industry. This makes them far less likely to whine “that’s not how we do things around here!” These are your company’s people, not someone else’s. This gives you far greater latitude in moulding your corporate culture.
Young employees can also grow with your business. For example, imagine you open a new office overseas or interstate. It’s far easier to uproot a 20-something than an employee in their 30s or 40s.
A 40-something-year-old might have a mortgage, kids in school, a spouse or partner with their own career – all of which need to be re-established if you want them to move interstate. In contrast, a 20-something year old lives in a share house. All they have to worry about is a couch, a bed, a microwave oven, a TV and a cat.
However, at least at first, some of your younger staff might benefit from having more experienced staff around. Having older mentors around the office can benefit your younger staff.
If your older recruits eventually retire, it’s really not such a big problem – in fact, it’s an opportunity for some of your younger staff to step up and take on leadership responsibilities.
So are you looking to hire? Don’t be afraid to give younger or older candidates a chance.
Get it done – today!
A cultural war: What Hayne's report means for fintechs, accountants and small-business lending Charlotte Petris Timelio founder
In a perfect world: Canva's Melanie Perkins dreams about the future of Australian startups Melanie Perkins Canva co-founder
Swipe right for (data) validation: What dating apps can teach us about data security Leah Callon-Butler intimate.io co-founder
How do Australian startups tap into the $140 billion of dry powder sitting in the US? Andrea Kowalski Bailador partner
No silver bullet: Four steps to find the perfect sales and marketing channel for your startup Vinne Schifferstein Vidal Botown founder
Buzinga to Appster: An insider's theory on why the app giants keep falling Joseph Russell DreamWalk Apps co-founder
Got brand goals? The four most marketable sports of 2019 Andrew Montesi Pickstar head of marketing
What founders can do now to prepare for a possible 2019 recession Les Szekely EVP co-founder