According to some wag, experience is a comb that life gives you after you have gone bald! But it is not really funny or fair to have experience going waste. A recent lively discussion - in which I had silently participated on LinkedIn - questions the sensibility of today’s HR personnel choosing youngsters with college degrees over people with 2 to 3 decades of proven and successful experience – some of them actually get invited as guest lecturers for their expertise in that particular Industry.

How fair is it to relegate people to the background, just because they have lived longer than us on this planet? Given the unreliability of the current social security measures and the diminishing value of money, more and more retired workforce are being incentivized to re-invent themselves and take up lucrative employment, with a determination to continue working for as long as they can. As we enter 2011, the first of the baby boomers will hit the retirement age of 65. So, we have about seventy-six million of them heading for retirement over the next 20 years.

The Wiki on Contingent Workforce talks about how retired workforce with valuable skills are re-entering the workforce as external consultants in their area of specialty. More and more talented people are seeking employment as self-employed category with an expense-deducted 1099 income, especially when they have an employed partner who brings in the usual benefits of employment to cover the family’s health and other plans.

Inexperienced and junior recruiters generally reject CVs of experienced candidates without degrees, if the hiring manager specifies a degree as a requirement. However, in some cases, these veterans would have laid down the ground rules of the game for that specialty, but may not have acquired a degree simply because it was unheard of when they started off. While experience and success stories seem to work better when seeking contract and consulting work, some of these retired people end up trying to overcome their disqualification by acquiring distance-mode degrees!

Businesses are motivated to draw upon an experienced and valuable pool of workforce talent, which in turn may be cost-effective and beneficial to both parties. Sagacious employers equate years of experience with qualification and recognize its worth.Experienced people can hit the floor running and deliver results much faster than the inexperienced, but qualified candidates. They also require less training. HR Departments may equate younger workforce with less cost and older workforce with high cost; but it is necessary to factor in the cost of training the youngsters and the possible cost that the youngster’s mistakes may cost while ascending the learning curve.

It makes excellent sense all around to put in place, starting now, better hiring policies for retired workforce so as to reap the benefits of their superior experience, as proven by some research by APPA (American Public Power Association) on The Aging and Retiring Workforce. Never forget that the roles that prove most difficult to fill are the senior roles – which is where maximum retirements happen and while the role requires only an experienced head.

Author's Bio: 

DCR Workforce provides a comprehensive Vendor Management System that tracks all the processes for contingent workforce management, permanent hire; and technical services.
For more information, visit