Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Commentary: Myths and Prospects for Older Workers

James E. Challenger, president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc, debunks the myth that "[w]orkers over 50 who have lost their jobs will have a very difficult time obtaining another job." On the contrary, he says, older workers "are winning new jobs in approximately the same length of time as their younger counterparts."

Among other things, he points out that many employers are "placing a premium on experience to help them meet their increasing worldwide competition." In addition, a new study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas "shatters the myth that older workers are particularly vulnerable in this economic downturn. The fact is that pared-down companies may increasingly rely on seasoned veterans to get them through the downturn."

Challenger advices older workers looking for work to be accommodating, emphasize past examples of loyalty, emphasize relevant experience, demonstrate flexibility and creativity, look and act young, and stay current and embrace technology. In addition, he cites several industries as looking particularly favorably on older workers: healthcare, teaching, consulting, nonprofit Organizations, customer service/customer relations, and small Business.

Sources: Challenger, Gray & Christmas "Older Workers Still In Demand!" (September 10, 2008), "Advice for Job-Seeking Older Workers" (September 10, 2008); California Job Journal "Older Workers Find Favor in the Current Job Market" (September 7, 2008)

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