Older talent have a lot to give

August 3, 2011

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THE HEADLINE of Scott Kirsner’s Innovation Economy column, “Start-ups courting older talent’ (Business, Aug. 1), caught my attention, as I volunteer with a network of mature, accomplished professionals who are in career-life transitions.

Kirsner wondered whether HubSpot’s aggressive recruitment program targeting experienced software engineers would draw “the employees least likely to succeed at a start-up: comfy old-timers used to their reserved parking spots and days that end at 5.’’ Perhaps Kirsner could become more aware of his apparent prejudice if he substituted, say, “blacks’’ or “Hispanics’’ for “comfy old-timers.’’

Individuals over age 40 vary greatly as to their work ethic, expectations, abilities, and drive, as do younger, less experienced workers. In fact, older workers as a group have been found to have better attendance, less sick time, and less turnover than their younger counterparts.

I congratulate HubSpot on its innovative program, and I am sure that the firm’s approach is likely to find it the “gems’’ it needs - senior engineers with drive and entrepreneurial spirit.

Bobbi Ciarfella
The writer is chairwoman of the Concord Professional Network.