Age 50 and over Job Hunters Series: Ageism in the New Corporate World – Part 1

The Gray Wave – Swimming against the tide.

gray waveThe odds seem over whelming at times of finding a job after age 50.  Age discrimination has become more widespread, as the younger baby boomers turning 55 peaked in 2012. Supposedly, workers over the age of 40 are are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) however companies are largely ignoring the law or coming up with creative ways to get around. According to, a website for people over the age of 50, court rulings have largely upheld the right of the employer to let the older employee go provided there is a reasonable business decision.

However some employers don’t want to risk going to court so they offer severance packages with an ADEA waiver.  Basically the employer says I am going to pay you to lay you off, but you have to agree not to sue me. They know you don’t have much of a choice. You can get laid off with no money, or you can get laid off with a severance check.  Most people choose the later.

 But I’m not ready to retire!

thescreamThe Gray Wave is the percentage of the population over age 65.  Here in the US that wave is getting younger.  Companies are preparing for the increased wave by hiring younger employees age 24 -35. To do that they are letting their older workers go.  As a result, upper management is getting younger which starts a vicious cycle of bias.  Younger managers want younger employees, because they perceive them to be more willing to work harder and longer hours.  They believe younger employees have more enthusiasm, ask fewer questions, have less health issues and work for more years.   This is what we are up against. CNBC called it a crapshoot to get a job.  They may be right, but with the right tools you can fight it.

Know what you are up against.

brickwallWe have to know what we’re up against before we can fight it.  It is very important that if you really want to find a job after a layoff, you must prepare yourself to compete with the younger employees.  You may have more experience, but your skills may need work.  That means taking a good long look at yourself, while analyzing the job market.  Spend sometime looking at jobs available.  What are they looking for?  Are you an expert in every way?  For instance you may know Microsoft Office really well, but when was the last time you had to use it?  Can you use the latest release?  How is your typing?  Your phone voice? When was the last time you had to do work in the trenches with other employees if you were in management?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself and you must be very honest.  You also need to look at your situation and decide how much of a pay cut you can take.  It is most likely if you worked for a company for a very long time that you will not be able to get the same pay that you had.  Expect it to be cut in half in many cases if you are lucky…  In part two of this series we will discuss what you have to do to become employable in this new business environment.  Don’t fool yourself, the business world has changed.  If you have not been in the job market for many years then you have to change too.




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