Embrace Gray Power: 5 Reasons to Hire Older Workers -- and 1 Thing to Avoid Doing

By Alan Laibson on June 17, 2019

The economic downtown in 2008 created a black hole in the construction industry. As a result, finding Project Managers between the ages of 28 and 33 and Superintendents between the ages of 23 and 30 in 2019 is difficult, if not impossible. To make up for this gap in available talent, construction executives are going to have to look to Project Managers and Superintendents in the 58-to-64 age range. Fortunately, there are numerous benefits to hiring older workers.

1. Older workers want to mentor the next generation. This is their most significant benefit: they truly enjoy teaching younger construction workers and passing on their skills and knowledge, while also getting to do a job they’re good at. If you want someone with deep knowledge and broad experience to help mold the next generation of construction workers, hire an older employee.

2. Older workers are retiring later. As the construction industry booms, many older workers have no interest in retiring any time soon. They love the work they do, and it helps keep them feeling vital and focused. Their passion for their work hasn’t faded, nor has their ability to perform great work.

3. Older workers have lower rates of absenteeism. Many of these workers are empty-nesters with fewer demands on their time outside of work. They also know how to take care of themselves, so they need fewer sick days. Add in a strong work ethic after decades of experience, and it’s no wonder that older workers have significantly fewer absences than their younger counterparts.

4. Older workers have proven track records of success. If an employee wasn’t focused and performing high-quality work throughout his or her career, there would be clear evidence of it in their decades-long work history. If they show you a strong project list and receive strong references, then you know you’ve found a top-shelf candidate.

5. Older workers aren’t looking for promotions. At this stage in their careers, these employees aren’t looking to climb the ladder. They’re looking to perform quality work for a company that treats them well, and they’re looking to train the next generation to have the same drive, work ethic, and skills that they do.

The value that the older generation of workers can add to construction companies is unparalleled in the market. But there’s one thing to carefully avoid if you want to bring on an experienced worker to contribute to your firm:

Don’t take older workers for granted. No one likes to be overlooked or trivialized -- especially employees with decades of experience and a lot to offer. They want to be a part of the team and contribute their skills and passion. So don’t treat them as if they’re inconsequential. Don’t exclude them from meetings or make assumptions about them. Treat these employees the same way you treat the rest of your team, with respect and appreciation, and they won’t disappoint you.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Alan Laibson

Alan Laibson

Executive Vice President

Alan began his career at Kimmel in 1997 and quickly began creating relationships in the General Construction Division in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.