12th July 2021

Experience overcomes ageism and closes the gender pay gap


The increasing importance of older workers

Ageism in the job market has been a hot topic for some time now, however it is becoming increasingly important. As the population ages, pension gaps are creating the situation where more older people have to consider working past their expected retirement dates.

However, it is not just about continuing to work out of financial necessity. For many, retirement just isn’t desirable. Spending their ‘golden years’ splashing cash on golf memberships and cruising the seven seas, or trailing round giant retail parks and ‘destination’ garden centres is simply not on the agenda for some!

Whatever the motive, working past retirement also gives the opportunity for older people to be productive, give back to the community and to do something with their intellectual and physical energy. These are essential for maintaining good physical and mental health into old age and feed strongly into the Harvard Business Review’s article: The Case for Hiring Older Workers.

Pre the pandemic, discrimination against older employees was well established, with as many as two-thirds of individuals aged 45 to 74 experiencing age-related discrimination. Covid has accelerated so many trends in the economy, but only time will tell how it is going to change things for employed people encountering ageism.

Freelancer and contractor ageism research from Ireland

The findings of some research from Ireland released by Trinity Business School make for interesting reading, suggesting that ageism experienced by some salaried employees is not shared by those working in the freelancing sector.

Analysis in the report from the Freelance Informer also supports the findings from other research sources, such as freelance and contract workers achieving higher earnings and enjoying greater job satisfaction.

Ireland’s self-employed and project economy workers over 60 are among the highest earners in the sector, enjoying the largest day rates and annual income of any age group. The gender pay gap was also 17% narrower than Ireland’s national average.

It is clear that the discrimination seen in the employment sector does not carry over to the project economy. Experience is highly valued in the high skilled independent contractor job market and age is no barrier to performance or the business results that are being delivered by older independent professionals.

The message for the recruitment sector is clear: older freelance and contract workers are ideal  for project-based assignments. Many don’t need to work all the time, and working patterns that support semi-retirement are easily accommodated within freelance and contract work models. Supervisory, and mentoring roles are ideal, allowing them to leverage their years of expertise and transfer knowledge to less experienced workers.

Despite the numbers of employees experiencing ageism, the value of older people is not lost to some organisations and HR departments are actively pursuing their services; US Companies such as Boeing, Bank of America, Walgreens and GM, invite older workers to come back, through specific ‘returnship’ programs tailored to aging workers.

Advice and solutions to keep in step with recruitment trends from ETZ

The trend for freelancers and contractors with age and experience is another developing situation that recruiters need to keep an eye on. Whatever the swings and roundabouts of the recruitment sector, ETZ makes your timesheet, invoicing and payment processes run smoothly and efficiently.

As the recruitment industry and RecTech develops, ETZ will be in step with the latest recruitment trends, to make sure you get the right solutions and advice. To find out more about how we help agencies like yours to get the best value from RecTech book a demo. 

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