I have several friends who, in the past couple of years, have lost their jobs. As these folks are close to my age, I’ve watched their job searches with interest.
Here’s what I’ve seen. If folks are over, say, 50, they have a hard time landing employment, even during a time of low unemployment. What’s that about?
One of my friends left an industry where he was an “old guy.” Most of the workforce in his former industry are millennials. As the baby boomers retire, the young people are left behind to run their organizations. Guess what? These youngsters, while terrific in many ways, don’t always have the work ethic, maturity and history to be effective. And now the organizations are struggling.
Another friend left a very competitive industry to relocate to another part of the country. As she had been amazingly successful in her career, she figured it would take her no time to land a new job. But it’s been close to two years now, and she’s still looking. Why? Because she’s overqualified for everything. At least, that’s what she’s told.
She will take a lower position on the organizational chart in order to have work, but she’s not being given the opportunity. I’m thinking it’s her age.
I read a book a couple of months ago called “The 100-Year Life,” by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. The authors attest that people in their 20s are likely to live to be 100 years old. They discuss the ramifications on many parts of life, including the workplace.
Since we know most people don’t save enough for retirement, the majority of employees are going to stay in the workforce for many more years than they plan to, because they won’t have enough money saved for retirement and because they’re going to live much longer.
People who think they want to retire around age 65 will need to work until 75 or perhaps 80 to ensure their money is sufficient to live on.
The authors also declare that most folks will have numerous careers. Think about the past 20 years. Jobs have been created that we could not have fathomed. How many digital marketing specialists were in the workplace 20 years ago? What about artificial intelligence positions? Who had heard of those a generation ago?
Of course, while some jobs are created, others go away. How many telephone operators do you know these days?
Older employees can, and will—depending on their ages and their financial situations—be able to fill new positions. Most of us never planned to retire in our 50s and need to work to pay our bills.
Others did sock away a lot of money in their 20s and could retire now, but just want something to do. They are not interested in being inactive, but don’t necessarily want the heavyweight jobs they had earlier.
So for those of us hiring, we should embrace older, seasoned workers. We’re going to need them, and they’re going to need us.
They bring experience, wisdom, reliability and loyalty to our organization. They help model behaviors for younger employees who are just learning how to navigate being adults. And the younger group can help the older workers, too, by teaching them technology and exposing them to new ways of doing things.
If you’ve got open positions, don’t overlook the older workers. Hire one today!