How (and why) to recruit for IT with age diversity in mind

Diversity is good for business. This is as true when it comes to age as it is gender or race. Here’s how (and why) to recruit for IT with age diversity in mind:

Why age diversity is good for business

A diverse workforce has been shown to increase a business’s profits by as much as 22% by comparison with less diverse organisations.

A range of genders, races, sexualities, and manners of thought are all good for diversity. But so is a range of ages. Greater diversity means a wider variety of ideas, approaches, and backgrounds.

In turn, this helps a business innovate and prosper. A business that understands people from every walk of life is also more likely to be able to sell to more people more effectively.

Plus, retirement age continues to go up and up. A large and growing percentage of the workforce is likely to stay in work for longer than ever before.

This means age discrimination (even accidental) is something that organisations can no longer afford.

How to recruit with age diversity in mind

All of that said, different generations have different expectations when it comes to employment and employers. Here is how to ensure your IT recruitment is age-diverse:

1) Make the business case for age inclusion

We all make judgements – subconscious or otherwise – about people based on their appearance. Age is no exception.

Not everyone in every organisation is aware of the benefits of diverse teams. Making the business case for inclusivity across the board (including age) is often vital to changing hearts and minds.

This may require some kind of age diversity or anti-bias training for your HR team and managers. It may mean talking it over with your IT recruitment company to make sure they understand your point of view.

2) Make age part of your diversity statement

It’s illegal to discriminate based on age. Yet it’s a characteristic that often gets short shrift by comparison with other vital factors like race and gender.

Making sure that age is mentioned in your diversity and inclusion statement alongside those other characteristics helps you underline to everyone involved that this is something you are focused on.

3) Make someone responsible for inclusion policy

There’s bound to be someone in your team responsible for key processes like information security. But who is responsible for ensuring diversity and inclusion?

Giving this issue a spokesperson, making someone responsible for it, ensures it gets the attention and priority it deserves.

This person should have a role in candidate selection. It’s their job to reinforce the value that different ages of people bring to the team. Things like:

-Greater breadth and length of experience

-Potential experience in a wider range of positions and organisations

-Differing institutional or legacy knowledge

-A range of connections and networks

-Bonuses they bring in terms of company culture

4) Understand the needs of different generations

Surveys have shown that workers from the roughly four or five different generations present in the current workforce have different things that appeal to them.

These are generations, of course. But it can be helpful to bear in mind what can appeal to:

*Baby boomers – tend to stay with one organisation for longer. Almost every other generation is more willing to move. Rewards for employee loyalty may be motivational to baby boomers.

*Generation X – tends to prioritise companies that are digitally minded or that are well on their way to a digital transformation. Showing you plan ahead can be a good draw for Gen X talent.

*Millennials (Generation Y) – often focus on career progression. Growing up when working in an EU country was easy, they are also unusually willing to work abroad. Finally, a focus on socially conscious actions may appeal to “Gen Y”.

*Generation Z – Gen Z tends to base decisions on a brand’s CSR rating even more than millennials. Social media is often the place to attract this talent. Growing up in economically fraught times means they may be more inclined to stay with an organisation though.

5) Review job descriptions and talk with your recruiter

Many of the default language used to make an organisation sound appealing and proactive in job descriptions can actually be off-putting to older talent.

Consider the phrase “young, dynamic team”. It’s something you’ll see in dozens of descriptions. Think how many times you’ve seen the phrase “recent graduate” in a recruitment advert too.

As a highly experienced network manager, would this language suggest this is the opportunity for you? How about if you were changing careers later in life, looking for your first data scientist job?

Probably not. And that could be an issue. If you’re looking into how to recruit with age diversity in mind, don’t start by signposting that this might not be the opportunity for everyone.

Looking to recruit the best IT talent in a specific field like machine learning or web development?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist IT recruitment agency. Our proven, open, honest, and transparent process gives you access to the best professionals.

Talk to us about your staffing needs today. We’ll walk you through how we can help you.