Yesterday I saw two articles about how hard it is for "older" workers to land jobs. The first was from CNN and provided "job tips for older unemployed workers." A quick scan of the article, and it referenced the AARP and its free Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). The article also provided some startling facts: "Unemployment for mature workers is up 331% over the past decade," according, again, to the AARP.
But this isn't anything I really need to worry about, right?? Well, article number two was from The Ladders and was titled, "Facing Age Discrimination As Young As 40."
Hey, wait a minute.
As it turns out, the article was written in August of 2008, shortly prior to the onset of the Great Recession - and just before many talented mid- to upper-level managers lost their jobs. It cites that "many companies have reservations about hiring older workers based on preconceived notions — namely, that they have reduced energy and higher salary expectations and are unwilling to learn new technology."
Higher salaries, sure... but reduced energy? Not willing to learn new technologies?
So, not only are many of us facing a crowded job market in general, but the article states that "the increasing pace of technological change, globalization and economic instability means age discrimination has crept into the lives of working professionals as young as 40."
True, globalization has changed how things are being done, as off-shore resources have dramatically reduced the number of home-grown jobs. This is more prevalent, though, in the technology sector. I've seen web dev being off-shored, but you're not going to see many strategic marketing roles going to India, China, or Brazil.
But this isn't just about me. The topic of age discrimination has come up at numerous OCA meetings. "Should I 'hide' my age on my resume?" "Should I just focus on the past 10 years?"
There's no doubt our group skews older. The talent pool we have is extremely, for lack of a better word, talented. Ivy League educations, MBAs, former VP and Director-level titles, and in many cases, 15-20+ years of solid marketing experience. Sure, there are new ways of doing things and trends that affect marketing approaches and techniques - but do you think that hasn't been the case since these people first entered the workforce?
40 is supposed to be the new 30, not the new 60. If 40 means it's time to put me out to pasture, I'll go kicking and screaming. There was a time when I half-expected to be retired by 55. Now, with the way Social Security is, I'm expecting to work until I'm 70. So, I don't plan on running out of steam (or "energy" or the need to continually learn) any time soon. In fact, I'm just getting going.
Now, by even addressing this, am I setting myself up for possible discrimination? You tell me. You're reading it. It's a blog. Social Media. Wait a few, and I'll tweet about it, too.