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The Tide Has Turned

Once shunned, older job seekers are now coveted

It was only a few years ago that individuals who found themselves out in the street whether by cost cutting, lay offs, downsizing, direct or indirect ageism, or whatever, were looked upon as “lepers” by potential employers. And this was especially true of the over 50 job seeker.

Mature job seekers were viewed as excess baggage. Few employers believed that this seasoned contingent of the labor force had much to offer and were expected to only last a few years before they would want to retire.

How times have changed. With workers of all stripes – but especially those with experience – in high demand, employers are not only accepting of older candidates, today mature job seekers actually are being sought out. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show unemployment among older works is the lowest it’s been in more than a decade.

This is not to say that ageism doesn’t exist. It most certainly does, but the experience of the older worker is now in high demand. But also it’s their reliability and dependability that are valued. In addition, as more and more older workers are eschewing the once-revered retirement age of 65 and working well past 70 (many by choice as opposed to need), employers see older applicants as hires who will stay on the job for extended periods of time.

Employers also are being to realize some of the stark contrasts between older and younger workers. As noted, older workers who are hired in their early 50s, will most likely stay with the same organization for as much as 20 years. Considering the cost of replacing someone, the older worker manifests as a much better value than younger workers (i.e. under age 40) who typically only stay with a company for 3-5 years and not much longer.

No one knows what the future holds for older workers – and workers of all ages for that matter – but the tide has definitely turned. Thanks largely to the strong demand for workers today, older workers – once seen as work-force lepers – are now in high demand.


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