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What to Look For

Age-friendly employers are out there if you know where to look

➔ Despite the illegality of it all, there are many companies that actively practice age discrimination. If you’re an older job seeker who has been looking for some time, statistics suggest that you’ve encountered one or two along the way.

What’s the best thing to do when you stumble upon one of those? Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” Complaining to the government or filing a lawsuit will only drain you of time, money and focus. And, at the end of the day, what have you gained? Is that the kind of company where you would want to work anyway? Also, most lawyers will confide that age discrimination suits are extremely difficult to win.

Talking a good game

Most companies will talk a good game about how they embrace employees of all ages; how diverse they are; and blah, blah, blah, blah. Talk is cheap. No company will admit that they don’t want any old people around.

That leaves it up to you to determine which companies will give an older applicant a fair shake. What should you be looking for? What questions should you be asking?

Age-friendly employers want their employees to share their knowledge and mentor others regardless of age. Ask about internal mentoring programs and opportunities for training and development. You also could ask if you could speak with older employees who have participated in such programs.

Ask, too, about training to help employees – of all ages – stay relevant in their current positions and/or training that will help them advance. Are there learning opportunities to help employees acquire new skills?

Last, an age-friendly employer is a company or organization that accommodates various work arrangements, such as flexible hours, part-time work or telecommuting.

How your prospective employer responds to inquiries such as these, and how willing they are to talk about them will go a long way to having them show their true colors insofar as being age-friendly.


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