Last Friday WhatTheyThink ran a commentary & analysis piece from Myrna Penny of PrintLink on the benefits of hiring older employees. In the article Penny outlines traits “generally found in more mature rather than younger workers.” These include:

  • More experience

  • More expertise

  • More resourcefulness

  • More complex resources

  • More productivity

  • More diligence

  • More enthusiasm

  • More integrity

  • More commitment

  • More work ethic

  • More ability to prioritize

  • More ability to educate & mentor your future staff

Using generalities to support hiring older workers is a weak argument. I can point to many examples of younger workers being more productive, enthusiastic, committed, and more innovative but that is beside the point and distracts from the issue. I think the point Penny was trying to make was to not overlook older generations when hiring. I agree with that.

The printing industry is facing a structural change that is fundamentally redefining the way we do business. This change requires new thinking and new ideas. New ideas and thinking can come from young workers and old workers alike and we shouldn't let age prejudice who we hire.

I received a number of emails from my younger industry cohorts on the message the article was sending to younger workers.

"I would argue that most printers in this industry that are still successful today have a younger workforce that brings in fresh ideas to try and move the company forward into new areas. It’s already hard enough to recruit the future generation in this industry, and from what I’ve seen, the younger talent in this industry is still passionate about what they’re doing. This is the polar opposite of the message that should be sent to the industry."

What do you think?