7 Reasons Why Midlife Women Make Great Employees
Advice to employers and a reminder to working women
(This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.)
It was reported in The Telegraph recently that women over age 50 are 25 times less likely to be offered a job interview than their counterparts in their late 20s. As a career coach, I’m increasingly working with women in their mid-40s upwards who are having problems getting the kind of jobs that they want because they feel they are losing out to younger women.
Employers are doing themselves a disservice by failing to recognize the value that the more mature woman can bring to the workplace.
So employers, below are seven reasons why these women make great employees.
And women in this age bracket, these reasons are a reminder of how fabulous you are:
1. They’re comfortable in their own skin.
By the time they get to midlife, women have had longer to work on their personal development and iron out self-esteem issues, accepting themselves for who they are. Consequently, they’re at a stage where they are not only comfortable with who they are, but confident with it.
While still wanting to look good, at this stage of life, they are more likely to be appreciative of what’s on the inside than the outside.
2. They no longer party hard on a “school” night.
Gone are the days when they burned the candle at both ends on a weeknight, strolling in to work following an evening on the town. Neither are they part of the Thursday-is-the-new-Friday lot, clubbing from Thursday evening through Sunday evening. They come to work alert and ready to do a good day’s work, taking pride in what they do.
They are less likely to take a sickie unless they are really ill and particularly not because they’ve been out the night before. As women mature and become more conscientious, they are less likely to take time off that is not warranted. They are more aware of the impact of their absence on their colleagues and the wider organization.
3. They have a lot of life experience.
By the time they get to midlife, women have achieved a tremendous amount of experience. Many have managed to climb the corporate ladder while raising a family. They’ve also been through numerous restructures and seen organizational practices go full circle (from centralization to decentralization and back again, as an example), learning many lessons from it all.
These women have lived and worked through so much of the “latest” thinking, they know what works well and what doesn't.
4. They’re more likely to be doing the job because it’s what they want to do.
Although there will be exceptions, by the time women get to midlife, they seek authenticity in what they do. They want to do work that aligns with who they are. No longer is it just about earning lots of money; they want to do work that is fulfilling, with meaning and purpose.
If midlife women are applying to work in your organization, chances are that’s because you offer something they have a genuine interest in. It’s not just a job to pay the bills. They want to make a difference.
5. They are more resilient.
Simply because of their age and their experience, women now in midlife have had to go through many changes and learned to adapt. They've had setbacks, faced rejection and have figured out how to survive in a tough competitive world.
Because of the fast pace of change these days, organizations need resilient employees. They need people that are able to recognize and accept that change is needed, even if it is not what they want.
6. They make good mentors.
This is due to their life and work experience. Over the years, they have developed empathy, a skill that is essential to the mentoring relationship. They've juggled work and family life. They've managed difficult relationships with colleagues, juniors, seniors and stakeholders.
They've been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
To young women in the early stages of their careers, a mature woman who has trod the path before them can share her experience and mistakes and explain what worked well for her and why. They can help women coming up carve out and navigate their career paths.
7. They make great leaders.
Look at Forbes’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women 2015 and you will see that there are only 15 women under the age of 45. Enough said.