Mature IT workers back in vogue

Longevity a key selling point as companies struggle to keep hold on Gen Y

For years they were shunned for being too old and uncool, but as the skills squeeze tightens, mature age IT workers are coming back in favour for companies seeking to fill voids in the workforce.

Relying on Gen Y workers to stay in jobs is forcing many employers to revert to the tried and tested, says Simon Lynch, national director of IT for recruitment firm Michael Page.

"In the past we would have had clients whose preference was to take the young up-and-comer," says Lynch.

"Now we are seeing the preference is more so to take a mature age worker. I shouldn't say that is all business, but we are starting to see a bit more flexibility there," he said.

"Businesses are starting to recognize now that with Gen Y, for a lot of these guys it is about them and not necessarily the company, and therefore they are not getting a lot of longevity out of the younger people.

Lynch said mature workers, mainly those above 50, can offer companies a wealth of experience and more importantly, loyalty.

"These guys are very employable and therefore companies who are willing to be flexible and look at that type of person are guaranteed to get that person until they retire."

On the whole, Lynch said a majority of his clients' demands are for staff with project management and business analysis skills. "From an IT perspective there are a lot of projects that go on so there is a constant demand for these skills."