1684076572 Employers are becoming more open to hiring older workers

Employers are becoming more open to hiring older workers

When Paul Adler turned 65, he didn’t retire. The former IBM executive and later government employee found alternative employment as a substitute elementary school teacher near his home in Bethesda, Maryland. But getting there required perseverance.

“There were several steps and, surprisingly, I always kept going,” he said. “What struck me most about the interview was that the interviewer wanted to be sure that at my age I was ready to do things. She seemed skeptical that I would be a regular substitute.”

These fears about older workers could change among employers – finally.

According to a new Transamerica Institute Workplace Survey, more than three in five employers said they are paying “a lot” or “a fair amount of attention” to applicants ages 50 and older when hiring in 2022.

And more than half of employers (53%) agree, “Many employees at my company expect to work past age 65 or have no plans to retire,” the statement reads Report interviewing 1,876 employers and 5,725 employees – For-profit company.

Transamerica robust

Source: The Transamerica Institute

The findings raise hopes that age discrimination in the workplace may be diminishing as demographic changes force employers to consider older workers, who often turn out to be the happiest employees.

“The headwinds facing older job seekers are finally easing,” Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the nonprofit Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement, told Yahoo Finance.

“Many employers are now considering applicants over the age of 50, a segment of the workforce that has historically been overlooked due to age discrimination,” she said. “In many ways, the pandemic has opened doors for both employers and employees, driven by severe labor shortages and the rapid development of flexible work arrangements ranging from schedules to remote work.”

Who thinks about older workers?

According to the survey, 71% of medium-sized and 69% of large companies said they give applicants aged 50+ “a lot” or “a fair amount” of consideration, more than the 58% of small companies who said they did.

The story goes on

And more than half of employers (54%) say their culture is focused on professional growth and development for employees of all ages, including those 50 and older. While only a few employers attach “very” importance to it (17%), more than one in three employers attach “quite” (37%) or “rather” importance to it (34%).

The most frequently mentioned programs include traditional and/or reverse mentoring (48%), vocational training (46%) and professional development programs (32%). More than a quarter (28%) offer specific training that addresses generational differences and helps prevent age discrimination.

Older businessman working with younger manager

(Getty Creative)

reverse age discrimination?

While the word ‘quid pro quo’ doesn’t really mean that the employer has given a job to a worker aged 50 and over, there is new evidence that hiring of workers in this age group is increasing. The unemployment rate for workers aged 55 and over fell to 2.3% last month from 2.8% in April last year, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The Transamerica report suggests employers may finally be grasping the harsh demographic reality. According to the World Health Organization, by 2030 one in six people in the world will be 60 or older. Three years ago, the number of over 60-year-olds was greater than that of children under 5 years of age.

“The global collapse in birth rates and increasing life expectancy will result in a sharp decline in the working-age population,” Bradley Schurman, demographics strategist and author of The Super Age, told Yahoo Finance.

“The departure of older workers could particularly disrupt industries that rely on knowledge and expertise,” he added. “This kind of skill loss will pressure companies to find ways to recruit and retain older workers – an easy fix.” Companies that don’t take precautions will not survive.”

However, age discrimination remains a stumbling block for some workers. As baby boomers age, they’re finding they have to keep working to meet their financial obligations, “but many feel they’ve been denied a job because of their age,” Ramona Schindelheim, editor-in-chief of WorkingNation told Yahoo Finance.

A survey released by AARP found that nearly four in five older workers say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace – the highest proportion since the organization began surveying the issue in 2003.

This is what makes the Transamerica report so compelling. As Collinson noted, change could be on the horizon. According to the report, only 5% of employers did not consider applicants over 50.

“That gives me a lot of encouragement,” Collinson said.

Older workers “most satisfied”

Employers who hire and retain older workers repay satisfied workers.

According to a February Pew Research Center survey of 5,188 US adults who work part-time or full-time, the workers who are happiest in many aspects of their jobs are the elderly.

“Although they represent only a small proportion of the labor force (7%), older workers are the most satisfied with their job overall and with various aspects of their job, such as their relationships with their colleagues and their manager.” Kim Parker, leader of the research on social trends at the Pew Research Center, told Yahoo Finance. “Also, compared to younger workers, they tend to find the work enjoyable and fulfilling and less stressful or overwhelming.”

Pew study

Pew study

Two-thirds (67%) of workers aged 65 and over say they are extremely or very satisfied with their job overall, compared to 55% of 50-64 year olds, 51% of 30-49 year olds and 44% of those aged 18 to 29.

They are also the most likely to say that their employer is very or fairly concerned about their well-being. The survey found that 61% of those over 65 say so, compared to just about half in each of the three younger groups.

Adler is one of those who are extremely satisfied with his work.

“I wanted to keep working and finding meaning at this point in life, and there’s a vibrancy to interacting with younger people that’s unquantifiable,” Adler added.

He’s good at it too, his peers have found that out.

“Teachers are now calling me directly and emailing me to ask if I can substitute for certain classes on certain days,” he said. “I follow the teacher’s directions, keep the students informed and on time, answer some academic questions, and explain topics they’re struggling with.”

As for aging, “I haven’t experienced ageism, although some kids have told me I’m older than their grandparents.”

Kerry is a senior reporter and columnist at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.

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