Rae has been in the Employment Industry for thirty five years, and is a mentor to many staff in the Castlegar WorkBC office. Her wealth of wisdom and compassion, along with her steady and calm guidance is immensely valued by staff and clients alike. She answered a few questions about her experience supporting mature workers in the WorkBC Resource Centre.

What makes mature workers so valuable?

I think they’re great because they typically come with a diverse background, lots of skills and skill sets, as well as having been through significant changes in the workplace.

If I think of when I started working, I was using a manual typewriter, and now I’m using computers. Mature workers are adaptable because they’ve had to be throughout their life. They’ve had to adapt to the greatest changes that any generation has or will experience probably.

Mature workers also have more flexibility in their personal life, they’re not afraid of working weekends. People with a younger family are confined to certain hours, where a mature worker may not be. They’re ready to take on lots of new challenges!

They pass on a strong work ethic. They’ve also maybe experienced more loyalty from employers, where I think maybe younger workers don’t get that sense of loyalty from an employer, so it’s hard to give it back, it’s hard to even know what it is. A more mature worker is likely to be a more loyal employee.

They may also have more flexibility in what they need to make as well. They can take a job that’s not as demanding, one that fulfills more of their personal desires rather than financial needs.

What can mature workers do to make a transition back into the workforce easier?

They have to believe they have something to offer. From my experience here, people will say “oh they don’t want to hire me because of my age”. But no! Age just means you’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience that you can share and pass on.

Just because you’ve worked in one job for forty years doesn’t mean you can’t change to another job. If you think about what changed in that forty years, you really can change. People just think they’ve always done the same job, and they can’t do anything else because they don’t know anything else, but stop and think about how much you changed in that time. You can change! It’s really important to take the time to recognize and identify transferable skills.

I encourage everyone to see their age as an asset, not a barrier.