Depending on where you live in the world, jobs for senior citizens over 50 years of age are becoming either more possible or are still very difficult to get. Things are changing across the world due to the tightening labor market but very slowly and we as an age group need to address the issues here and beat them!
Here is how I think we can all do this and be successful.
Here’s a quick look at some statistics
- Unemployment in the US for over 55’s is 3.2% against 4.1 % for the whole US population and 14.4% for teens
- Two decades ago a third of people over 55 were employed or looking for work.
- Today the share is 40% up 10% from 1990 according to St Louis Federal reserve
- Not surprisingly the growth in the labor force by age is projected to grow till 2024 by 4.5% for 65 to 74 years old, and 6.4% for those over 75!!
- In the UK there are over a million people older than 50 unemployed but would be willing to work if given the chance – age discrimination law needs to be enforced.
So this seems to be a good time to go get that job whatever shape it might take as some businesses are becoming more adept at taking us on.
The age challenge for business.
To take advantage of our capabilities requires a business thinking change.
Not using our experience base actually makes no sense in the business world and there is some growing realization of this, more prevalent perhaps in the US than is in the UK where age discrimination at the time of writing (3/2019), is still a problem, despite the law changes which apparently are supposed to outlaw or consider it to be illegal – oh well, in time you say – it will happen but only if we push for it!
It makes sense because a person who has worked in an organisation for many years has a knowledge base which it will take years to replace. Okay so that person may not want to work full time any more, or even may not want to commute anymore but those organisations that are recognizing the value of retaining the knowledge base instead of it being more or less kicked out of the door or importing it on a new basis are realizing that this is saving them big dollars. They are also changing their approach to accommodate most of the wishes of those of us who are useful to them and over 50.
It doesn’t need much intuitive common sense to realize this no matter what business you’re in – right? We have known for generations that it takes five times as much money to recruit and train a person from the beginning than it does to keep on an older person. So why is there this particular discrimination against age?
I see that in the US the most difficult area is that of IT or the tech area who still wish to have younger people working for them. However if you look at the growing size of the population who are over 50 this means that the tech industries clients are going to be the very people with whom they are not in a mood to employ them any more. Given that apps and software has to go through testing what better to employ the people that are going to use it i.e. the over 50’s?
Our Situation – the over 50’s that is!
Okay so that’s the rant over for now but let’s turn to the situation that we as over 50s find ourselves in.
In my case I was made redundant after many years with a global company, just before my pension hike would’ve made life much more easy. After getting over this emotional change I was lucky enough to get a couple of short-term contract jobs but in the end I had to accept that I wasn’t going to get a permanent job, but I still needed a pension top up.
More recently with the advent of realization by a small but growing segment of the business community that keeping over 50’s on makes sense there have been some strides forward for those of us who are over 50. What we are finding though is that to get to this marketplace and for them to “get” us there are ways of approaching this market which are slightly different to the way it was perhaps as we did it when we changed jobs in our mid 30’s or mid 40’s.
How they (business) look at us over 50’s
What are we fighting against – make no mistake, for those companies which are not enlightened by the financial factors there is a policy of regarding us older persons as having the following list of attributes:
– You are set in your ways
– You don’t want to learn any more
– You don’t have a lot of energy because of your age
– You cannot have original thinking
– You can’t use your experience base like younger folks do
– The recruitment robots will chuck you out why should we take you?
Let’s have a look at what those really are and how we can accommodate and handle them, (right?).
1. Use your contacts to get a job – 46% of people find their next job this way. We always think of joining the search companies and that’s fine but the robots will excuse you out and then you don’t even get that interview Over half your time should be spent on networking as these people already know you and this makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? This was my lesson 2 learned above and it works.
2. Don’t look only for a full time job – think about a temporary or freelance job as a stepping stone.I think we all go through the approach where we think only in terms of getting another full-time job. Believe you me this is not always possible and you may spend an awful lot of time if you exclude other jobs such as those where are you can be temporarily employed. There are many examples among my friends where they have started a temporary job, especially in the health industry, and they liked it so much and were so useful to that company that they’ve ended up getting an extension for six months or a year, and even beyond.
3. Be flexible on working hours – because of your age and the fact (perhaps) you don’t have children to look after any more you can be flexible on your working hours. This means that you can cover the hours of work in which the younger generation doesn’t seem to want to do. What I’m thinking here is the shift that goes from the middle of the afternoon through to the late evening and you can often do the weekends when younger people don’t want to be working. This is an advantage which you can offer to potential employers.
4. Look for working remote – you know the 5 second commute time. Looking at the HR companies and especially in the States there is now a section for remote working. This means that you can work from the comfort of your home as long as you have a strong Internet link and some sort of laptop or iPad. I have done this occasionally for the past four years and I found it to be extremely good way of working. You can use your skills that you have without having to commute to an office daily, (well except for that 5 second commute to your home office), as long as you are prepared to be available when the company needs you. In my case I was able to set my own hours as long as I used the tracking device to show the company that I had actually been working during the period, and worked a minimum number of hours per week. This worked out very well so do consider this and don’t discount this possibility.
5. Accept that your new boss might be much younger than you – It is not unusual for shall we say us older folks to have an attitude towards younger people whom we see as knowing not as much as us. By the way the current word for this is mindset (okay – see the drift here?). The worst thing you can do in the workplace of Now is to have an attitude or mindset towards those younger than you. If you are sensible you will play the team game and what I found is that after a while providing I can accept the younger people and their approaches they will then accept my experience and come asking for it.
6. Prepare for an interview – as things have changed since we started our careers. Go into it with your head held high and play to your strengths – not your age.Energy levels, current thinking enthusiasm for learning.
7. Accept that the person interviewing you might be much younger than you – same as in the previous point, but more critical because if you can’t get past him or her then no job. Try practicing with some of your younger relatives. Ask them to be that dreaded interviewer who tries to wind you up.
8. Tailor your CV and keep doing this – 2 pages and 10 years experience is all that people are interested in. Why – because the World is moving on at such a pace what you did 20 years ago may well not be relevant anymore – just saying. Also use current terminology to describe what you did so that you are seen to be up to date. Get the current layout, terminology, approach, get rid of the stuff greater than 10 years ago unless there was a key accomplishment. Does your CV align with the job description? Do the research.
9. Key Accomplishments – Above all what were the key accomplishments in your career and how can you use these to promote yourself. Mine centered around bringing in major projects on time and within budget, running Project Management Offices and getting two divisions of a major global player to work together to build new business which was very successful. Again I had to phrase these in modern terms as they did happen a while ago – sound okay?
10. Training and Re-training – Get trained up to current levels or be able to demonstrate them. I was lucky because I had a lot of time in the IT world in my career and this led me into having to learn all the tools and ways of working as the world changed – well not all but you know what I mean.
You will have spare time and I recommend two things to you:
– Firstly read daily about what is happening in the part of the world you are wanting to be in. Switch on Google Alerts and have this tell you about new things happening.
– Secondly look at your skill base and see what you need to do to bring yourself up to a level which others will have in the area you are aiming at.
– Examples – how good are you at the standard Microsoft Word, Excel for starters and then try adding PowerPoint. Microsoft has a free learning university for all of these and you can do the courses at your leisure.
– What are the current trends in your industry – is Artificial Intelligence being used – what do you know about it? Google will give you many articles, soak them up.
11. Mitigate the risk of having no income coming in – by building your own back stop. What do I mean by this? Statistics show that the over 50’s will have sometimes considerable gaps in between their jobs as they go forward. Whilst there is always the process to be managed of looking for the next job what you can consider is to join a process whereby you can start to earn your own money from an online business, with no risk. I came to this conclusion after having been made redundant from my third contract that there was a need to fill this gap so that we don’t have the “Feast and Famine type regime where you earn some money and then you have to spend it during the next period when you can’t get a job.
This approach also keeps you involved from a perspective of keeping the grey matter active keeping to a routine and it’s working from home which is good for a short commute. You can work at it as you want and be prepared to put it to one side whilst you go for the next interview or indeed the next job. If you work hard at it you can eventually reduce your dependence on another job and move over to this one. This is what I have done and it has worked well. I no longer have to worry about having to get that next job, as I can fall back on my online income.
So we can conclude that this is a good time for us oldies to look for and get a job after we have retired (in some countries more than others) but what you get and how you get it may be quite different to what you have been used to.
Open your mind to new possibilities such as flexible hours of working, remote working, temporary jobs instead of hoping for and never getting a permanent position because of age discrimination.
Prepare yourself as you go into this New Age to get noticed. Go forward with energy, knowledge, and forget this age tag which otherwise will give you big problems.
Remember that your own contacts through networking are a great source of opportunities because they know who you are, what you can do and they know people who might want you. Remember that 46% (including myself – YAY!) of people in our age range find jobs this way.
Finally I strongly recommend that you look at starting to build your own online, work from home income stream to cater for the gaps in your employment. I have been doing this as an Affilate Marketer for the past 6 years so will gladly help you get into this which I stress is no risks and costs nothing to get started.
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