People aged between 35 and 54 are at the top of the hire list for small businesses in the UK, research by Aldermore has revealed.
In a survey of 1,002 SME business leaders, 50% said they would choose to hire from this age group out of all potential recruits - compared to 30% who would prefer to hire 18 to 34-year-olds.
Nearly half of small business owners (47%) also said they believe 35 to 54-year-olds have the greatest industry knowledge of any age group.
When describing current employees, similar numbers of employers said this age group are the most productive (53%), most focused (50%), and have the best work ethic (48%).
However, 21% said it is difficult to recruit employees in this age range, with this figure increasing to 32% among medium-sized businesses.
Carl D'Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said businesses should also recognise the "fresh approach" that can come with hiring younger staff.
"Attracting and hiring the best industry talent can be a tough task, yet the long-term benefits that even a single new staff member can bring to a business can be very significant.
"Having a diverse workforce with different perspectives drives innovation and problem-solving, which is why hiring employees with different skills and levels of experience is so important."
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