I was at a networking group last week where I was able to talk to some jobseekers in a general format. One of the things that consistently surfaced was the perception from older workers that they were being discriminated against due to their age.
I don’t know if these accusations were true, but they seem more than plausible. Some of the stories were downright sad – one candidate arrived for an interview and was sent out to the lobby to fill in the dates of his previous employment going back to the beginning…in the 1970’s. He didn’t get the job.
The massive erosion of wealth over the past year has led to most of these people continuing to search for new employment even though they are in their 60’s. Just today, I received a PR email regarding a survey by Golden Gateway Financial:
– Now, almost 50 percent of seniors plan to retire after age 70
– More than 40 percent of seniors polled said the current economy has had some kind of negative affect on their ability to retire
– More than 50 percent of respondents said they are concerned that their overall net worth may no longer be enough to sustain their retirement
– 86 percent of seniors said they had a reasonable understanding of their net worth, and 50 percent said that net worth had declined by between 10 and 30 percent
Again, not surprising. I’m a Gen Xer so these topics were, to be blunt, of little interest to me until I had a chance to talk to people caught in this exact situation.
The repercussions from this economy are going to be with us far longer than the time it takes the economy to recover. The secondary effect from these “older” jobseekers is going to be the job opportunities facing young people entering the workforce. Clearly there will be a pull between hiring the experienced older worker vs. the young, inexperienced go-getter. This tension has always existed – the difference is the future force of it.