Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Labor Day may be over, but for 50 plussers work might be right around the corner...

I think I may be in love with a man I've never met. Intrepid LA Times staff writer, Jonathan Peterson, dares to tread where few go...into the topic of hiring 50 plussers. Back in May, Peterson brought new statistics regarding older workers to the front pages of the LA Times.

I fell in love back then, but just a few short days ago, the lightening bolt may have actually hit. Mr. P. sent a bit more light our way. On September 3, 2007, Peterson published two more articles (specifically on the older worker) -- Companies try to retain older workers, and Putting retirees' expertise to work.

In the first article, Peterson plunges into the challenges many companies are starting to face in finding skilled labor or specialized talent. (If you are a frequent reader, I've commented quite a bit on industries that are having very specific challenges: engineering, healthcare, education, finance, retail, customer service, just to name a few...)

Some employers are starting to realize that their workers with years and years of experience may be harder to replace than they once thought.

According to Peterson, "In a society that exalts youth, older workers may sometimes feel like outcasts of the economy -- prodded into early retirement by corporate buyouts, overlooked for training and promotions, typecast by younger managers as past their prime.

Indeed, one 2005 study found that job applicants under age 50 were 42% more likely to be called for interviews than those over 50.

Yet there may be early glimmers of change. The oldest baby boomers are entering their 60s, raising the prospect of a vast wave of retirements. The post-World War II baby boom, moreover, was followed by a smaller "baby bust" generation.

As a result, some employers are worried that they will lose too many people -- and are pioneering policies to make the workplace more friendly to older employees."

Yikes? How is it that those under 50 are 42% more likely to be called for interviews?! In my Eons group (Careers for Boomers and 50 Plus) there are many heartbreaking stories that unfold...dedicated jobseekers who often times may search for a new job (any job) over one or even two years (or more) -- with no success.

And yet, according to this article, some employers are finally trying to make the workplace more friendly to older employees, so that they will stay. The first place that I believe needs an overhaul is at the recruiting and candidate presenting level -- in retraining recruiters to look outside the strict parameters of the job description and to be willing to re-engineer, and retool potentially great, dedicated, mature new hires. Because once a Gen Plusser is hired, they will stay and they will perform...with pleasure.

The second article is focused on bringing retirees back into the work force in specialized positions, often times for contract positions. Some great resources are mentioned and it is worth a read...whether you are a jobseeker OR an employer.

If you are a 50 plus friendly employer, please get the word out. There are thousands of eager 50 plus jobseekers looking to fill your jobs!


Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy!

Great news, really! And yes, reform at the recruiting and candidate presenting level would help give 50+ candidates more consideration. Still, at all ages, relying on the traditional job search method of “applying for openings” is to choose a competitive, high-rejection strategy.

On the other hand, networking, with it’s opportunities for becoming know to decision makers even before they have openings, can lead to much more success. In fact, research done at one outplacement firm I worked for found that 65% of candidates found positions via networking; research at a second firm, places this number closer to 80%.

No, it’s not a quick hit strategy, but it is less competitive and can lead to a better fit for candidate and employer alike.

I know you know and stress this; and I’d encourage folks to pay more attention to this part of your message and not wait for employers to get enlightened.

Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Walter, you are right. Waiting for employers to become enlightened will be too little, too late -- even though the news is encouraging.

Networking is vital and key. Especially in communities where jobs are even harder to come by. I would believe your figure of 80% -- many times jobs are filled before they ever hit a job board.

And I'd say that at 50 plus, there is no really quick hit strategy -- I agree with you. A lot of work, a lot of strategizing, and a good deal of legwork has to go into job search. More so than at 30 or 40. Much more so.