Here in the village where I live, we are in the midst of celebrations for Her Majesty The Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. Her Maj became Queen before I was born, and probably that’s true for you too. She has done the same job for more years than I have been alive. I have done more jobs in my working life than I dare share with you…!
Until relatively recently, most people would do four different jobs in their lifetime. Predictions are that students graduating these days will do a dozen or more jobs in their careers. You may recall the days when someone at work was given a carriage clock to celebrate 25 years in their role. When was the last time you noticed that happening? None of us has stuck to the same employment, unlike Her Majesty.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Royalist or a Republican. The fact is undeniable. This 96-year-old woman is still working in the same job she started more than 70 years ago. That is a remarkable achievement.
With those 70 years, of course, comes significant amounts of experience. When Princess Elizabeth became Queen, Churchill was the Prime Minister. These days she has meetings with Boris Johnson, number 14 on the list of Prime Ministers who have served her. Being the Head of State for the Commonwealth, she has dealt with 170 different Prime Ministers. If anyone knows how to handle these individuals motivated by ego and power, it’s Her Maj. Equally, if you ever need to know exactly how to unveil a plaque, give Liz a call because she has done that more times than anyone on the planet.
We tend to underestimate the value of experience. Many businesses focus on qualifications and personality tests when recruiting people. Indeed, there is evidence of ageism in recruitment, with the younger candidate frequently being preferred over an older individual. Yet, it is possible that the young person has less experience than the older one.
According to a report just published by the consultants McKinsey, “The most important resource in any economy or organization is its human capital — that is, the collective knowledge, attributes, skills, experience, and health of the workforce.” The report adds that businesses can benefit from what it calls “the experience effect”.