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According to a LinkedIn survey, nearly half of boomers want to change careers. Some are looking to change their roles while others want to be reinvented. Due to "The Great Resignation", an escalating talent demand and increased emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion, many businesses are becoming more accepting of older candidates as age-friendly employers.
Chris Farrell, a Next Avenue colleague, recently wrote that management is realizing it cannot afford to ignore skilled workers, both those already on the payroll or those applying for jobs.
Now the question is, where and how can you find age-friendly jobs?
It is important to be clear that the growing acceptance of older workers may change once the job market tightens. Ageism is a problem that has been around for ages. The last thing you want to do is be lured into a job by an employer looking to fill vacancies only to have to leave later because market conditions have changed.
In the hope that employers will recognize the value of older workers, I want to share some tips on how to find them.
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Some of these I bought at the Encore Boston Network's recent Age Friendly Employer Forum. It was cosponsored by Retirementjobs.com/AARP. To find out what has worked for my clients in their 50s or 60s, I reached out to career coaches.
Here are five key points from experts:
1. Check out the following lists of age-friendly companies. There is not one single list that contains all employers who are age-friendly, but these two lists can be a great starting point.
The Employer Pledge List of AARP includes over 1000 employers (from American Greetings and Zip Recruiter) that have committed to equal opportunities for all workers, regardless their age.
Kara Cohen, manager for community outreach and volunteer engagement at AARP Massachusetts spoke about the list. She said: "We are holding them to the fire to ensure that they honor the promise that they made not discriminate based upon age." They are to avoid code language terms such as "digital native" and "energetic", which could indicate that they are looking to hire younger applicants.
Farrell also wrote about the Certified Age Friendly Employer Program (CAFE). Tim Driver, CEO at Retirementjobs.com created CAFE' in order to recognize employers that are committed to supporting older workers and maintaining good employment practices. The current list includes about 100 employers, including Home Instead Senior Care, CVS, and ATT. But the number will soon grow to 200.
Two representatives from these companies offered their tips during the forum.
Richard Ross, a consultant for Manpower, said that older adults who are interested in temp work should apply to its system even if there isn't a suitable opening. He said, "We want to create a pool of qualified candidates for the future." We may not have a position for you right now. However, if you are in the pool, we may call you later if something comes in."
Manager of talent acquisition at Eversource Energy, Erin Travassos said that older workers should not be discouraged if they are turned down for a job. You might still get a job at a different department even if you are rejected by one department. Don't be afraid to apply again," she said.
2. Small companies are a good option, especially if they are run by seniors. Most of the big companies are on age-friendly lists. In practice, however, many job seekers older than 50 find small businesses to be their best option.
This is due to several factors. Small businesses tend to have smaller budgets so they prefer to hire skilled workers who don’t need training. Lynn Berger, a career coach based in New York City, says that older managers may encourage their employees to hire those they consider to be their peers at a time where many small businesses are being started and managed by people over 50.
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3. Register for webinars geared towards 50+ job seekers. These webinars can provide fresh ideas and help you find age-friendly employers. Sometimes, they also offer opportunities to meet employers who are ready to hire.
AARP offers online workshops for 50+ job seekers and in-person workshops to 50+ job seekers.
Encore Boston Network hosts webinars as well as other programs for older job hunters. Although some programs are only available in the Boston area, many of the information and resources they offer are applicable to anyone. It has a page on age-friendly employers and links to previous forums of Encore Boston Network.
4. Look for clues that are age-friendly on the company website and social media pages. Trish McGrath is a career transition coach at Edge Career Solutions in Sanibel. She recommends that you check the main career page of the company and the bottom of the job postings. Is the basic Equal Opportunity Employer statement language still in use? Or has it been updated to reflect the company's commitment to hiring and recruiting older workers? Are you able to see any mentions of the importance of multigenerational workers or providing professional development opportunities for employees?
You can also find out what the employer is posting on social media. To determine if the company's culture is age-friendly, pay attention to the description.
Photos of older workers on the site or on social media are a plus. However, references to perks such as happy hours and Ping-Pong could indicate a bias towards younger employees.
5. You should target private equity (PE), firms. This tip is for executives looking to take on a new role. Barbara Safani, a career advisor based in New York City, said that PE firms prefer to hire older executives to manage their portfolio companies. These firms are looking for people who can stay for longer periods of time, as their goal is to sell the company within three to five year.
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Safani worked with many executives who were successful at Fortune 500 tech and financial companies, but couldn't find a corporate job due to their age. They quickly rose to the top of the list after they started establishing relationships with PE-backed fintech companies (financial tech).
Nancy Collamer, M.S., is a semiretirement coach, speaker and author of "Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement." You can now download her free workbook, "25 Ways to Help You Identify Your Ideal Second Act" on her website at MyLifestyleCareer.com (and you'll also receive her free bimonthly newsletter).
This article was reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org, (c), 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc.
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