There’s a commonly held belief—we call it “conventional wisdom,” although I’m not sure there’s anything particularly “wise” about it—that the older we are, the less appealing we are to prospective employers. Those who are in the “over 55” category are often afraid to leave jobs they hate because they’re afraid they won’t get re-hired. And if you get laid off and you’re over 55, the assumption is you either go into business for yourself, or you retire early and try to make the best of it.
Well, a recent news report from USA Today just might debunk all those presumptions. According to the article, a significant number of older women are taking full advantage of today’s low unemployment rates by re-entering the workforce, many after being absent for a long time. Some are returning to work to recover losses from the recession of a few years back; others may be seeking a new sense of independence after a divorce or other life change. Whatever the reasons, the number of women over age 55 getting hired jumped by a whopping 4.2 percent last year—this compared to only a 1.8 percent increased employment among women of all ages.
And although the USA Today article focuses on older women, older men haven’t been ruled out, either. The Labor Department says employment of men over age 55 also rose by 3.3 percent last year.
What does all this mean? To be brutally honest, it means if you’ve been disqualifying yourself from employment due to your age, you just lost your biggest excuse for not trying. If the job market is embracing that many people over the age of 55, there’s room in the market for you!
Of course, that doesn’t mean employers are going to come knocking at your door to offer you a job. You have to put yourself out there just like everyone else. It does mean, however, that you no longer need to assume the job you’re applying for is automatically going to a young upstart. Don’t count yourself out!
As a career coach, I work regularly with mature people who are pursuing their third or fourth careers. I can teach you how to play to your strengths and position yourself competitively in a field of job candidates of all ages. For a free 30-minute consultation, give me a call at 646-320-1126.