Are you 70ish, or 60ish, even 50ish, and unemployed?
*** Since the Covid-19 crisis for most of 2020 (and still going), all the issues below are still with us but even more severe ***
There are older adults in today’s work place who, by choice or otherwise, aren’t ready to stop working. Some need to work to live, and if they find themselves unemployed, they face a problem that they probably didn’t know existed, “ageism”. Ageism is a real “internet” word, google it.
“Ageism” looks at workplace experience in the opposite direction of how it was before the internet. If you have 20+ years experience in anything you can be viewed as too old and not considered for the job that you may have become an expert in. And heaven help you if you have 30+ years. College degree? No help, it was probably in some subject that is no longer relevant, like “Electrical Engineering”.
It is humbling to not even be considered for a job that you may have been a long time successful executive at.
Older Workers Are Being Left Behind
Unemployment is presently fairly low overall, but older workers are being left behind in the job market, according to a survey conducted by AARP.
Half of workers, ages 45-70, unemployed in the last five years are still not working, the survey finds, with 38 percent reporting they are unemployed and 12 percent that they have dropped out of the labor force.
Of those who did find employment, nearly half (48 percent) said they are earning less on their current job than the one they had before they most recently became jobless. Among these reemployed, half were earning less than before because the new position paid less, while 10 percent were working less hours. Nearly four-in-ten cited both as reasons, AARP reports.
Of those who have experienced long-term unemployment, four-in-ten are working in part-time jobs, according to AARP. Fifty-three percent are working in an occupation different from the one they had prior to becoming unemployed. Older workers were less likely to be working in a different occupation if they had only been employed for a short time (46 percent vs. 63 percent).
“Almost half (48 percent) of the reemployed report earning less on their current jobs. They were also more likely to report having poorer retirement and health benefits.
It Takes a Long Time To Find a Quality job
“Many Americans want to work as long as possible, but our survey confirms that, once unemployed, it can take a long time for older workers to find a quality job,” Debra Whitman, AARP chief public policy officer, said in a statement.
What job search steps have been most effective for the reemployed? Three-in-ten said that networking and asking relatives and friends about jobs was “very effective,” followed by contacting employers directly and using a headhunter (24 percent each. Twenty percent found consulting professional associations very effective.
Among the barriers to finding a job, respondents were most likely to say that there were no jobs available (36 percent), while 30 percent said they had ties to their area. Almost three-in-ten (26 percent) cited “ageism” among employers who think the job applicant is too old, while 18 percent said they themselves feel too old for available jobs.