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Trainers overlook older workers

By Cecil Scaglione
August 06, 2015 - 0 comments

It’s tough enough for seniors to hold the jobs they have or to find another paycheck if they’ve been shunted on the street by company “downsizing” without the added burden of discrimination on the job.

But older workers routinely are ignored by employers when it comes to training, according to a Brit who works with employers on both sides of the Atlantic.

While more and more people are working beyond retirement age in tandem with the increasing life expectancy, “What I find mystifying is that older workers are consistently looked over in favour of young employees when training is considered,” said Doug Tucker. He is managing director of Sales Commando, a British-based sales-training organization that has worked with companies and corporations throughout Europe and North America.

Using figures from his homeland, he said there are 300,000 people aged 70 or older still working in Britain. In the United Kingdom, 1.5 million workers are at pension age or above, compared with slightly more than 750,000 two decades ago.

“It is not uncommon for older people to be routinely overlooked – purely, it can be assumed as there are no other variables, because of their age – if there are a limited number of training places,” he said.

“This type of discrimination is depressingly commonplace.”

He said a “fundamental flaw” in corporate training policies is the assumption that older workers bring wisdom and experience to the job.

“Or perhaps it is a mindset that older workers will typically not be with the company for the medium- to long-term and, therefore, are not worth the training investment,” he said.

This type of thinking damages the firm’s fiscal performance,

Focusing on his expertise, he said, “We’re all working in an ever-changing sales arena that requires evolutionary sales training. And that’s for everybody at every age.”

It’s not about teaching old dogs new tricks.

“What I’m suggesting is that we refine experiences and contemporize sales techniques to build on the many attributes older workers bring to a company in a sales leadership role.”

This will profit not only the older worker but the company as well, he said.

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