Unlike in the US, India is yet to constitute a law protecting older workers from age-related discrimination. With startups booming in India, companies prefer to invest in young and new talents rather than hiring older workers, thus missing out on the wealth of knowledge. Presently, the average age of retirement is between 60-62 years in India. And despite diversity and inclusion advocated in the business world, ageism has been overlooked, with mature workers subjected to age-related discrimination.
According to a survey conducted by JobBuzz, a recruitment company in India, 33% of employees have faced age-related discrimination at their workplace. Similarly, the notion of hiring older workers is yet to be normalized, considering the talent and skill-set they can bring to the table. However, it would be unfair to state that the idea is not open to discussion. In 2021, the Indian government launched a platform for hiring older workers. The website offered full-time, part-time, and freelance opportunities with upskilling and reskilling options. But is this change here to stay; only time will tell.
Several experienced workers aged 45 plus struggle to find a suitable job despite having a prosperous career graph. According to a survey by WorkWise, 34% of older workers have faced prejudice during the interview process itself. The most conspicuous reasons are a lack of technical, digital, and operational skills. Hiring older workers inadvertently gets outweighed by the pool of energy and advanced skill-sets of the younger generation. But what companies are missing out on is the critical thinking, rich experience, and commitment that experienced workers have to offer.
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To quote Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation on hiring older workers, she stated to DNA in an interview,”Their wisdom helps in creating a valuable opportunity to guide younger colleagues. They also bring knowledge from their earlier work experience and can manage the crisis better.”
Older workers are not only known for their work ethics and commitment but can also cut labor costs. Their role as life coaches and mentors can help younger employees in the organization to adapt quickly and perform better. Hence to truly promote diversity and inclusion, workplaces must promote hiring older workers and condemn all discrimination, including ageism, to create an inclusive workplace.
Human resources must prioritize an individual’s experience and skill-sets over the age factor. Companies hiring older workers have witnessed lower turnover than otherwise because of their work ethics, commitment, and engagement. Also, the age factor is more of a social stigma than a business one, which we as a society need to let go of. The Indian government’s initiative to break these stigmas with a website in 2021 was a great move, but has it been substantial enough to make Indian companies open their markets to older workers? It’s debatable. And to make a significant impact today, it’s fair to state that older workers may need more than just a website to make Indian companies rediscover these talents that they have been unknowingly missing out on, over the years.
- The value of wisdom: Why corporates are hiring people over 60 years of age | DNA | Priyanka Golikeri | Aug 16, 2018
- India looks to increase senior citizen employment with jobs portal | HRM Asia | Claire Lee | October 6, 2021
- Does India need an age-based employment discrimination law? | HRWorld The Economic Times | February 10, 2022
- Companies are missing out on talent in candidates over 50 | Glassdoor | March 2, 2022
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