Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who Has Solution For Older Employees?

It's not a good time to be an older worker in America. This may be the worst time in the past 60 years to be older and looking for work. Some 6.8% of workers over 55 are currently unemployed. You have to go back to 1949 to find employment stats this bad.

On average, it takes employees over 55 years old seven weeks longer (roughly 33 weeks) to find employment than their younger counterparts.

That's a shame because these individuals carry with them years of expertise and experience. And they are stuck on the sidelines.

"These older workers can't adapt to today's technology and the flexibility in today's workforce?" I hear this all the time. I don't buy it. These folks are as active online as any group these days, and businesses should have systems set up to make it easy for employees to get their jobs done, regardless of age.

Someone (business or industry) is going to come up with a way to hire and employ these individuals and their bottom lines will improve because of the decision. No one wants to hire them so you'll have your pick of the best. We're all living longer today and working longer so if you hire a 55-year-old you may have them for 15 years (the average employee only lasts 4 years with an employee these days). Now, these individuals are often too young for Medicare so benefits will be important to them. However, I think they'd be willing to give up some compensation in exchange for the benefits (they are unemployed after all).

Again, the best kept secret in the job market are older workers. Someone is going to wake up one day and discover them and find a way to tap into this talent pool.

--Ron Ameln, SBM

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