Many of my clients who are 50 or older believe that there is an age bias within some employment circles and corporate cultures that will impede their ability to find employment. But according to Ken Dychtwald, author of Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent, this perception is changing. According to Dychtwald, over the next several years, 80% of growth in the American workforce will come from workers over 50 years old. This means that the baby boomer generation will command exceptional earning power in the years to come. Here are a few recommendations for how baby boomers can reach their professional and monetary goals during their future job search.
Know your market value
Frequently, baby boomers are coming out of an organization where they spent one to three decades. If they are coming out of an organization after a long tenure, their compensation may not have kept pace with what the market will bear due to internal changes, salary freezes, M&A activity, etc. and it is imperative that mature job seekers assess their market value before they begin interviewing. Excellent resources for competitive benchmarking include colleagues, professional organizations, recruiters, and online tools such as Salary Expert and Payscale.com.
Seek out “boomer friendly” employers
Boomers should target companies that actively promote their commitment to a mature workforce. They can increase their knowledge of such companies by following surveys such as AARP’s Annual Best Companies for People over 50 and subscribing to AARP and other mature audience magazines and newsletters. Mature workers should also consider networking in age-related affinity groups such as Forty Plus or online sites such as Eons.com.
Promote the boomer “value add” during interviews
Older job candidates can improve the quality of their interviews and their overall search strategy by capitalizing on the positive associations of the boomer generation and addressing any negative perceptions by showcasing success stories that debunk commonly held misperceptions regarding boomers. For example, positive perceptions of baby boomers include loyalty, low absenteeism, commitment to quality, strong performance records, and good team players. Job seekers can validate these perceptions by communicating stories to employers that demonstrate these skills. Negative perceptions include adversity to change, out of date skills, and difficulty reporting to a younger boss. Again, job candidates must confidently communicate their successes around change, training, and reporting relationships.
The labor storm is coming whether employers like it or not. By being informed about the changing demographics and creating a strategy for marketing accomplishments and value-add now, mature workers will improve their chances of building financially sound and emotionally fulfilling career paths over the next decade.