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Why companies with an eye on the future should hire older workers

To the editor: The important work of UC Irvine economist David Neumark and his colleagues points up not only an ageist culture, but also a widespread misunderstanding about the value of older workers. ("Do women face age discrimination in the job market? Absolutely. Here's proof," Opinion, April 26)

Research and practice show that older workers represent a powerful human capital resource. Older workers offer experience, balance, judgment and greater loyalty than other age cohorts. They're effective at conflict resolution and can bring strong customer and client relationship skills.

These talents perfectly compliment those of younger workers. That's why forward-thinking employers increasingly recognize that the most effective employee base is one reflecting diversity of all types — particularly age diversity.

With a rapidly aging population, it's clear that an intergenerational workforce is the workforce of the future. That will be the competitive advantage that distinguishes the top performing employers from those left behind.

Paul Irving, Santa Monica

The writer is chairman of the Milken Institute's Center for the Future of Aging.

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