Employers of labor will usually encourage and sometimes even support their staff in their bid to receive relevant formal education since this will help improve their skills on the job. But what about midlife education, does this help to improve the skills of employees that fall within this age bracket? The answer to this question can be two-fold. That is from the perspective of the group (i.e. the mid-life age group) as well as that of the individual.
The first answer
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There is actually a stereotype when it comes to the learning ability of middle-aged people and individuals who are older. The common belief regarding people that fall within this age bracket is that it is more difficult for them to learn new things. Unfortunately, according to research this is not necessarily so. As a good number of people that are in their 50s as well as in their 60s continue to learn and do so aggressively. Therefore, your middle-aged staff much like younger staff members may be the right individual(s) to receive relevant education that can improve job skills.
Now the second answer
However, although the notion that older people find it difficult to learn new things is not true it is possible to find middle-aged people that portray this. Not because they are incapable of learning new things, but because of buying into this lie or due to not having any interest in learning anything new. Consequently, it is possible to find individuals that fall within this group who may not be suitable for such education. Indeed, the answer to this question lies in the hands of every midlife employee.
In spite of this, people often realize that mid-life or mid-career employees are usually among the most skilled, the most dedicated and productive employees in any organization. This is why investing or encouraging the education of your middle-aged staff will reap benefits for your company as well as the concerned individual. The truth of the matter is that such people can acquire formal education at this time and bring same to bear on their jobs as long as they are willing and enthusiastic about going back to school.
Okay some reasons to consider
So having established the case that mid-life employees can learn and apply knowledge gained to their work since their learning ability is not necessarily impaired. There are some reasons to consider that will even make people within this group more attractive to employers of labor. For one the experience that such people bring into their jobs is invaluable. And, adding to this experience as well as prior knowledge in the form of advanced education will only help in making them more suitable for grooming younger generations within the workplace. In addition, other reasons to consider include:
The retaining cost benefit. It is widely known that the cost of retaining an employee is cheaper than that of employing a new one. But what does this have to do with midlife employee education? Well, avoiding the training of suitable midlife staff members in your organization will mean at least one thing; their redundancy and the possible hiring of new staff to replace them in the medium to long-term, which will cost you more.
Also, midlife employees who work in fields that they see as a career rather than just a job will be passionate about their work and will in turn not likely change jobs regularly as it is obtainable with people that fall under younger generations. In other words, they often remain working with the same employer for a longer period.
Finally, if you are considering financially supporting the education of your middle-aged employees and wondering whether this is a wise decision. You need to look at this not just from the perspective of how long this person will work with you, but how relevant the education they are acquiring now is of value to your company in the immediate to short-term.
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