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The world of employment is ever-changing. Many factors affect it, like the global economy, inflation, and technological developments. The progress of artificial intelligence is making some jobs obsolete. Labor has become cheaper and cheaper and the consequences have started showing. Especially for people over 55, the old spice.
This has been the harsh truth: young workers accept a smaller paycheck. Businesses have convinced them that unpaid internships are a must for a career. As this becomes the norm, skilled and older employees are pushed out. Their experience isn’t valued because it isn’t cheap.
What do the numbers tell us?

Employment stats by age

The Bureau of Labor Statistics paints the picture for the United States. In an annual report, the government’s body divides the employees by industry, drawing the numbers and characteristics of the workforce. The study divides the workforce by age and occupation. These are some takeaways from the 2019 report.
  • The field of Business and financial operations occupations counted a total of 2,076 employees between the age of 24 and 35. The age group 45-54 counted 1,738 and the numbers lowered as the age grew. Until it only counted 554 workers over 65.
  • The professional and related category includes occupations such as web developers, computer programmers, and information security analysts. The majority of employees are 25-34 years old. Once again, the numbers lower as the age grows and the median age is 43,3.
  • In the occupation of aerospace engineers, the trend seems to reverse, but only because the Bureau counted a total of 134 workers.
How are the numbers in the European Union? Eurostat’s report paints the picture for the past few years, including 2020, the year of the global pandemic.
  • In 2018, youth employment decreased, especially for workers aged 20 to 29.
  • In 2018, employment among people aged between 55 and 64 reached 58.7 percent, the highest since 2002.
  • Eurostat showed that the employment rate for people between 54 and 65 years old has increased, although it hasn’t reached the European goal of 75 percent.
“Overall, the increase in the employment rate of older workers is one of the main drivers of the total rise in employment across the European Union,” the report claims.
What does this mean? Senior workers are on the rise, slowly but surely.

Old Spice, the value of expertise

People over the age of 55 have a baggage of knowledge and experience. Businesses have started to realize that’s a strength, not a liability. Expertise might cost more than an internship, but mistakes and classes can be just as expensive.
In September 2020, the Australian creative agency Thinkerbell launched the eight-week paid internship [email protected]. It’s available for people over 55 who want to join the advertising company, as creatives, office managers, finance specialists, and many more roles. The applications for the first round filled out quickly and that proves two things: interest and potential.
The City of Los Angeles sees the same chances. The Department of Aging has two training programs, one for low-income older adults and the other is dedicated to homeless older adults. Both target workers 55 or older, residents of the city, and unemployed.
On the other side of the globe, the government of Finland is taking similar measures for its old spice workforce, as the Helsinki Times reported. The country is making structural reforms to improve “the livelihood, employment, and protection in the event of a restructuring of over 55-year-olds.”
The measures include, but are not limited to:
  • Support scheme for job seekers
  • If someone has been employed at the same business for over five years, this person is entitled to a training subsidy
  • Adding a minimum of 31,000 people to the employed by the end of 2021
Always in 2021, Goldman Sachs offers the virtual version of the Returnship Program. It’s 12 weeks of training and classes that target professionals who have been out of the workforce for at least two years. These are usually professionals over 50 who are the first cuts during a crisis, like Covid-19.
Community colleges have also started offering classes to promote older workers as a resource for businesses seeking a trained, qualified, and reliable workforce.

Ageism, the opposite of old spice

According to the World Health Organization, this distasteful term is “the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.”
The discrimination includes the treatment of older workers or unemployment choices. Businesses prefer young people who are willing to accept a lower paycheck. People over 55 who have been unemployed find it more difficult to re-enter the workforce.
It’s an unfair system, especially since seniors are a crucial piece of the puzzle.

The benefits of hiring old spice

Is it worth it? Here’s why businesses should hire senior workers, according to Harvard Business Review.
  • The world population is aging. People live longer and that’s an opportunity. They can be productive for longer and their expertise builds more and more.
  • Knowledge and expertise are the main predictors of job performance. And they keep increasing even beyond the age of 80.
  • Increase cognitive diversity, aka the team output so people can work together to find new ideas.
  • The strong work ethic. Employees over 55 are loyal, and respectful, and they play fair.
  • They have clear ideas. Old spice workers prefer stability over high ambition.
Every research suggests that people over 55 are an investment with a guaranteed return. Businesses are hiring workers who are loyal, knowledgeable, and serious. They are not looking to find the best offer. They are looking to stay in the company and to teach to the new generations.
Hiring old spice or training this workforce is an opportunity, not a weight. It’s time to reverse the trend of ageism.
Mike Rubini

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Mike Rubini

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