I just recently responded to a request on www.helpareporterout.com regarding the challenges and resources that mature and older workers face and what they can look forward to as far as resources available. Below is my response.
I have had my own business as a Career Coach and Advisor for the past 4.5 years. Prior to that I was a recruiter and headhunter for 8.5 years, and I coached thousands of people into jobs throughout the United States and several in Europe.
I work with clients that are between the ages of 20 and 70 years old.
My clients are in different stages of their careers and have all been employed at one time or another. I work with people that have been terminated, reentering the job market, laid off and/or just want to make a career change. I work with all types of individuals who have different educational backgrounds and salary levels (8th graders to Ph.D.’s from Harvard). I work with people who make $40K and up to $3M and even though this is a tough job market there are so many jobs available and I coach people into jobs everyday.
Mature and older workers who are between the ages of 45 to 70 are so worried and anxious about their age and lack of technology skills. They are also gripped with fear about their spouses leaving them and losing their homes.
They don’t feel knowledgeable about the job market, and the interviewing, resume writing and salary and negotiating processes. They haven’t had to look for a job in 10-30 years so having to go out and get a job and pound the pavements (while competing with the 20 and 30 years old job seekers) terrifies them.
They are faced with age discrimination by the 20 and 30 year old hiring managers, because most hiring managers in that age category will not hire mature (ages between 45-58 years of age) and older workers (ages between 58-70 years of age) because they prefer to work with people who have their same values, like to communicate openly and collaborate on work projects, etc. We are dealing with a multigenerational workforce like never before. There are many challenges job seekers are facing because of it.
Another challenge older workers (ages between 58-70 years of age) have is that they just don’t know how to get a job because they haven’t had to look for one in a long time. Their other challenge is that their “Networking Contacts” have dried up and cease to exist because they never thought they would need to network because they were employed and already had a job.
Older workers (ages between 58-70 years of age) are also challenged by their own attitudes that they have towards younger and middle-aged workers. For example, mature and older workers have grown up in a different generation and their working experiences are very different. They worked in a hierarchical structure with authoritative leadership and management styles and with closed communication. The younger, middle age and some of the mature workers are committed and used to working with open communication, technology and collaborating with their peers. They work in a highly diverse culture where the older workers worked in a very homogeneous culture and they lack technology expertise.
I coach mature and older workers and the same questions come up over and over They say, “I’m too old and no one is going to hire me.” They are afraid that they won’t be able to hit the ground running because of their lack of technology experience and because they aren’t up-to-date on what other companies, organizations, institutions want from them and/or how they operate. They feel that they won’t be able to compete with younger and middle age workers (22-38) and that they will lose their homes and spouses. They are tired and never dreamed of being laid off at the age of 52-70 years. They feel devastated and traumatized because they really don’t want to have to go out and get another job at their age.
There are a lot of resources for them today and some of the most important things they need to know are THEY CAN GET HIRED AND WILL GET HIRED, they are valued and respected by hiring managers because of their loyalty and intellectual capital.
They should hire a career coach, attend the local job search support groups in their area, and definitely attend professional associations within their industry. They need to hire a resume writer or coach because they have no idea of what is expected of them and how they should write a resume. They need to be trained on computers and the rest of the job search process like, how to negotiate, interview and get a job today.
Some of them want to do something totally different like change industries and professions. Some want to pursue opening their own businesses and consult for a living. They also need to know the value of working with recruiters.
I would suggest getting a personal image consultant to help them update their image if they are worried about it. I would suggest they start networking right away and join www.linkedin.com. They need to get real familiar with how the internet works relating to their job search, for example they need to post their resumes on www.craigslist.com, careerbuilder.com and monster.com. Most of them don’t know what the function of job boards are. Most people get hired off of the internet today. And I would suggest some counseling or grief support during this time.
Most large corporations will contract with companies that provide outplacement services. If they are so lucky to go through outplacement services, they will be given the opportunity to work with a company that will help them through their job search process and be assigned a coach to help them find employment.
It’s important that they sign up with their local EDD office. The Employment Development Department will train them at no charge and introduce them to local employers and provide free computer training. Our country also has 1781 One Stop Career Centers that also offer free career coaching services.
Attending professional associations like the American Marketing Association is a great thing to do so you can get up-to-date on their profession and industry.
So I hope this information is helpful. Please contact me if you need anything else.