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Recruiting & Candidate Development

Brains, Brawn and Bravado; Incentives to Hire the “Experienced”

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gerrycorbetOn the occasion of Mark Zuckerberg’s 30th birthday, I am yet again painfully reminded about the dilemma faced by experienced professionals in today’s job market. As plaudits and posts pile up to celebrate and commemorate the birthday of Facebook’s founder, highly talented professionals of every discipline and field go ignored by the nation’s employers because they are considered dead or dying.

Perhaps the tide will turn now that Zuckerberg is joining the ranks of senior citizens at the ripe old age of thirty. His infamous quote from a 2007 Stanford speech has brought notoriety to the issue of age discrimination in the Valley. He said, “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical," he stated, adding that successful start-ups should only employ young people with technical expertise. "Young people are just smarter," he said, with a straight face, according to VentureBeat.

Quoting a New York Times article on Thursday May 15 , “At a time when digital skills are prized and businesses place a premium on youth, some employers subtly seek to push out older workers. They deny them raises once awarded routinely, reduce their responsibilities or give evaluations that are cold and complain of waning productivity.” And despite the fact that some firms are stepping out to retain older workers, the issue remains a thorn in the sides of those waiting in unemployment lines. The magnitude of the problem can be seen in a simple Google search on the term “age discrimination.” A recent check yielded 43.8 million results.

The fact is that employers who take the stance that “older is obsolete,” are missing a grand opportunity to harness brains, brawn and bravado to grow their businesses with experienced, seasoned people who know and understand the pain points of the business and can add great value.

Despite the lack of action by the nation’s lawmakers, there seems to be agreement on the value of older workers. I surveyed some 40 articles on reasons to hire people who have been around the horn a few times. Herewith then are ten of the best incentives for hiring people with proven know how and experience.

1. “Locked and loaded.” Chances are companies can find the exact experience that will fit their needs.

2. “Up and running.” Allows the organization to implement solutions faster because the experienced pro likely will have a track record and transferable accomplishments.

3. “Coach and conquer.” Senior folks often make great coaches and mentors and can help drive culture, camaraderie and consistency.

4. “Buyer’s market.” The market is rich with experienced pros, long on talent and wide in capability.

5. “Patience is a virtue.” Because of their tenure in the work force, experienced workers have more endurance and forbearance to withstand the highs and lows of successfully running a business and its components. In addition, they likely whine less as well.

6. “Timely and temperate.” Experienced employees are prompt, courteous and even tempered. Experience has made them wiser and highly aware of deadlines and commitments.

7. “Low maintenance.” By virtue of their tenure, experienced workers, particularly those in the unemployment queue, do not have unreasonable demands. They have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of working life and are more accommodating and have more greater levels of fortitude (see number 5.)

8. “Loyal soldiers.” Experience often engenders great loyalty. And according to studies like a Met Life research project in 2012, Boomers have higher levels of loyalty than those from generations X and Y. Furthermore, Boomers grew up in a time where loyalty was both valued and rewarded.

9. “Distracted driving.” Boomers have less diversions and disruptions than later generations. Chances are the kids are grown and the daily pressures of youth have abated and there is more time to devote to one’s profession and passions.

10. “Knowledge and network.” Networks are growing ever important to the sales process. It no longer is simple enough to run advertisements to sell a product. Influence and knowledge are growing as drivers of purchasing. Boomers are ready made for the task because of their experience, knowledge and tenure and they don’t require tons of training.




Gerard “ Gerry” F. Corbett; APR; Fellow PRSA is Founder and CEO of Redphlag LLC; a strategic  public relations; marketing and management consulting firm; a position to which he was named in January 2008.  He also has a coaching practice and blogs and tweets as the PR Job Coach. 

Gerry has served four decades in senior marketing and communications roles at Global Fortune 100 firms including Hitachi; Loral; Asarco; Gould and International Harvester and earlier in his career in aerospace engineering and information technology with Silicon Valley firms and NASA.   He also is secretary and a member of the board of directors of Kids’ Turn; a San Francisco Non-Profit organization.

A native of Philadelphia; Pennsylvania; Gerry has a Bachelors of Arts degree in public relations from San Jose State University; San Jose; California; and an Associates of Arts with a major in electronics engineering from the Community College of Philadelphia.; Gerry is 2012 Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA.) 

He also is Accredited in Public Relations by PRSA and a member of PRSA’s College of Fellows.  He is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; a member of the board and past president of the International Advertising Association/West; a member of the National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society; National Association of Science Writers; San Francisco PR Roundtable; International Coaching Federation; Social Media Club and New York PR Society.

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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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