The Dilemma Of The 50+ Crowd

by Jay Deragon on 11/21/2012

A dilemma is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable. For the 50+ crowd the biggest dilemma is finding employment.

Older workers (age 50 and older) represented a larger share of the long-term unemployed in 2011 than they did before the Great Recession. In 2011 41.6% of the 50+ crowd that had been unemployed have been so for 52 weeks or longer while in 2007 that number was 19.5%. That’s over 100% increase in four years.

Workers age 50 and older make up 32 percent of the workforce, a share projected to increase to over 35 percent by 2020. These baby boomers are finding it difficult to find employment opportunities.  They are competing with younger workers who are less costly and more savvy with tech-speak and the related tools. Employers also fear more health insurance complications for the 50+ crowd. So the 50+ crowd has been “tagged” with a stigma of higher cost and outdated skills. There is clearly a bias against hiring the 50+ crowd although no one would ever admit it for fear of EEOC suits.

The 50-Plus Crowd Offers Untapped Value

Most mature 50+ job candidates have extensive work experience and industry knowledge, as well as “big-picture” thinking and business management skills waiting to be tapped. The 50+ crowd has the skills and experience that  most employers are looking for in open positions. 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2011 survey, employers are looking for job candidates these top 10 skills and qualities:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Analytical & Research Skills
  3. Self Motivation
  4. Teamwork.
  5. Adapt at using technology
  6. Strength of Character
  7.  Interpersonal Skills
  8. Flexibility/Adaptability
  9. Planning/Organizing.
  10. Problem Solving Skills

While lots of attention has recently been given to the few 20 and 30 crowd rock stars who’ve made it big in the digital era however most  of this crowd has not had the depth of experience as the 50+ crowd.  The difference between the 20-20 somethings and the 50+ crowd is 20 – 30 years of experience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said The years teach much which the days never know. If your company an afford to allow someone with little experience to grow and learn, great. If not, place your bets on the candidate with the experience and insight to do the job right. That would be the 50+ crowd. BTW, I am part of that crowd :)

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