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We’ve written numerous times on this blog about how more people are working past their retirement ages, some because they are not ready to quit working and others because they are financially unable to. But what happens when no one wants to hire them?

According to a recent Knowledge@Wharton article, employers are often reluctant to hire older workers because they feel that they are less productive, less technology-savvy, create more costs, and are less invested in the job. Such stereotypes made it even harder for older workers to find employment in an already tight job market. In October, the AARP found that unemployed workers over age 55 had been out of work an average of 44.3 weeks while those under that age had only been jobless an average of 33.2 weeks, which goes to show that even with age discrimination laws, these older workers do seem to be overlooked.

But employers who pass on these experienced workers may just be hurting themselves. According to the article, older workers are often more productive than younger ones because they are absent less often and create less turnover. And they can actually decrease benefits costs because they don’t have small children to insure and many are eligible for Medicare. And studies show that despite common beliefs, they are often more engaged and satisified with their work and relish new challenges rather than shying away from them.

If you have clients who are reluctant to hire some of your older candidates, you may want to suggest contracting. That way, your stellar experienced candidates will have the chance to prove that they don’t fit into the older worker stereotypes. And you may just find that they prefer to work on contract because of the flexibility it provides as opposed to the traditional full-time job.

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