Let me ask you this: When was the last time you saw a senior on your favorite TV show? I don’t know about you, but I can hardly remember when I did.
We live in a society that worships youth. If you open any magazine, look at billboards, or watch TV shows, you will see young faces.
Unfortunately, this reality is reflected in employment. It seems like everyone is looking to hire an 18-year-old with 20 years of experience, which is ridiculous when you think about it.
Ageism is Real
Imagine a 50-year-old who has had a fantastic phone interview for a potential job. Then they schedule a video call or walk into an office for an interview and there is a mood shift. They immediately know that they will not get the job.
Or an employer looks at their resume and sees that they have over 30 years years of experience, which signals to them that the person is too old to work for them.
This is not a story about something that happens in a faraway place, it happens in our county. People over the age of 50 face discrimination in the workplace. A study by Urban Institute (2018) claims that 56 percent of workers over the age of 50 have faced employer-driven job loss.
If you are not over 50 now, this might affect you at some point in your life no matter your age and industry.
Why Baby Boomers Face Discrimination
Why don’t employers like hiring seniors? You might wonder. One of the common reasons is a bias that younger employees are more technologically savvy. But the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that this is not true.
Take the case of teledentistry practice. Many dental professionals, including those over the age of 50 have had no problem adjusting to the new normal. So, it just does not make sense to discriminate against people on the basis of their age.
Another reason why seniors face discrimination in employment is that they have decades of experience and therefore they deserve to earn more money.
Some employers might not be willing to pay baby boomers what they are worth because they can hire two millennials for the price of one professional over the age of 50.
There are also other flimsy excuses for not employing people over the age of 50, such as “She is overqualified,” or “ He won’t fit into our company culture.” In my experience, these are just that – excuses that we use to discriminate against senior workers.
We Need More Employees Over the Age of 50
If your company would like to be competitive and plan better for the future, you should consider hiring more seniors.
Research shows that seniors have more experience, are better at solving problems, and are happier at work. Having seniors working with your company will be of huge benefit to you.
How To Survive
It is important for baby boomers to have a side gig to have some sense of control over their lives. This way, if they are pushed out of employment, like many seniors, they will have something to fall back on. Baby Boomers can also stay relevant by enrolling in training courses to upgrade their skills.
As a society, we need to change our attitudes. What matters is that the candidate should have the right skills and attitude for the job.
Employment policies that are good for the young, should also be good for seniors. That’s the only way we’ll be able to grow our community.
Book Sonya Dunbar to help bring change to your organization. Sonya offers staff training, leadership training, interactive staff in-services, and training on how to provide care to dementia and combative residents.