By Bridget Biggar

Would you really turn down the inventor of the internet because of his age?

The unemployment rate for the over 50s is increasing nearly twice as fast as 18-24 year olds which will have a devastating effect on the economy, reported The Guardian back in April. Not only are people living longer and the pension age rising, but by 2020 just over a third of the working-age population will be over 50.

In fact give or take half a million, there will be the same number of working age people below and above forty. If employers are reluctant to hire people over the age of 45 this will have huge costs in benefit payments and lost spending power. Not to mention the loss to employers as they struggle to fill vacancies or spend time training in basic skills while all the time those in their 50s twiddle their experienced thumbs.

Businesses hiring from the graduate pool may be doing so to because they always have, thinking that what they need is “new blood, new ideas” but many smaller businesses simply haven’t got the headroom to train and mentor this raw talent in the continuing difficult economic climate.

With knowledge and skills built up over decades it is no surprise that candidates in the 50+ age group prove more valuable. They know how to get things done and certainly show more staying power, and could well be more flexible on hours and pay.

And just stop and think about this generation. They are certainly not “old”. This was the first generation to have computers, mobile phones and the internet. And some even know how to programme a Sky+ box!

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