Many people mistakenly believe that it is preferable to hire younger workers over their more seasoned colleagues. They believe younger workers are more energetic and are more likely to bring fresh ideas to the table. I am a 20-something-year-old entrepreneur and have found that many people think very highly of younger professionals; however, I think they give us too much credit. While younger workers bring a number of benefits to the table, there are also some disadvantages to hiring them. Here are some reasons a younger employee may not be the ideal employee for you.
Most managers and entrepreneurs look up to Mark Zuckerburg and other entrepreneurs who launched their businesses in their 20s. They have come to believe younger workers are more likely to have brilliant ideas. They tend to hire younger workers because they believe they can transform their workplace for the better.
However, young geniuses like Zuckerberg tend to be the exception more often than the rule. I have worked with many other young professionals and saw many of their ideas fail to solve the problems they sought to tackle. I will admit I am one of them.
Younger workers can sometimes harness their energy to propel the organization forward; however, they usually lack both the professional and life experience needed to make a positive change. Older workers have this experience and are often unappreciated assets for many businesses.
They Can Lack Direction
Younger workers often struggle to move forward in a consistent direction. I have had two business partners who were 24 when we started working together. They were both knowledgeable in their fields and convinced companies and wealthy individuals to invest in them.
In spite of their knowledge and bright ideas, they were unable to make their visions come to fruition. The problem was they constantly changed their minds and were unable to move the business forward in a consistent direction. I am now working with a couple of older entrepreneurs who have that consistency. I would rather hire an employee who understands what he or she needs to do and follows through with their promises.
They Tend to Be More Narcissistic
I have to admit many people in my generation (myself included) tend to be more narcissistic than our older colleagues. I don’t feel that narcissism is necessarily a bad thing. People with this trait are not usually selfish or mean-spirited; however, they do tend to be overly convinced of their own abilities.
Younger workers tend to have a harder time recognizing organizational boundaries or following the instructions of their boss. They are often bitter they are the ones who have to take direction from someone else. Admittedly, this is why I chose to become an entrepreneur instead of accepting a 9-5 job somewhere else. I wouldn’t hire someone like me because they would probably be more stubborn and managers may find it more difficult to get their respect.
Many older workers tend to have more reverence for the traditional workplace. I worked in other jobs in college and high school and found that the older workers tended to be most loyal.
Create a Diversified Workforce
There are a number of benefits to hiring both younger and older employees. My piece has focused primarily on the drawbacks of hiring younger workers, but that is only because they are usually more desirable to entrepreneurs and hiring managers. You should recognize the benefits that both younger and older employees bring to the table and try to create a diversified workforce. Don’t limit yourself to hiring younger employees.
Kalen is a business writer. He also has an MBA from Clark University and suggests that other people seek online MBA degree programs if they want to learn more about business.
If you are looking to learn more from thought leaders in the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem, make sure you visit AlleyWatch’s Resources channel where you can find more articles like this.