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Older Workers I

(September 25, 2006) A new "report" from Challenger, Gray and Christmas notices that "older workers" have an easier time moving between jobs. Here are the key points:
    The most compelling quality a job seeker can possess in today's employment market apparently is to be over the age of 55, according to newly revealed statistics.  Older workers are in high demand. As a result, the number of Americans working in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s is at a record high, according to a new analysis of federal employment data by global outplacement consultancy
    Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

    However, it will become increasingly difficult for older job seekers to find positions. The reason? It is not age discrimination, but fierce competition from job-seeking baby boomers, 70 percent of whom plan to stay in the workplace beyond the traditional retirement age of 65.

    Unpublished Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by Challenger show that employers are indeed embracing older workers and job seekers. As of August, the number of workers 55 and older reached 24.6 million, the highest level ever recorded. About one-fourth of these older workers (5.2 million) were 65 and older. That is a giant leap of 45 percent from 3,617,000 in August 1996 and just below the record high of 5.4 million set in May.

    The number of older workers is not only growing, it is growing faster than any other age group. The Challenger analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that employment among workers 55 and older grew 10.5 percent between 2003 and 2005.


  • Health care - This sector is facing major labor shortages due to retirements, heavy turnover and a decline in the number of people entering the field. Jobs are available in most areas from home health care aides, who require a minimum amount of training, through registered nurses, who require far more training.

  • Teaching - Many school districts are so desperate for teachers that they are finding alternative and faster ways to certify interested candidates. Those who can apply their career background in the classroom are particularly in demand.

  • Consulting - Whether as an independent contractor or as part of a consulting firm, older job seekers can find ample opportunities to offer their experience and wisdom for a price.
  • Retail - As the population ages, more and more retailers are finding that the demographic makeup of their stores is changing. In order to appeal to an older customer base, retailers will probably be hiring a growing number of seniors
    -- as managers, sales associates, and marketing and merchandising executives.
  • Customer service/customer relations - With complaints of poor customer service growing in volume and frequency, more and more companies may look to older generations to make improvements. Those in their 50s, 60s and 70s were raised in an era when the customer was king (or queen) and therefore may have a better understanding of how to deliver superior customer service.
  • Small business - The welcome mat is out at these firms for experienced workers, especially those who have big-league corporate experience. They are viewed as being able to suggest new and improved ways of doing things because of their large-company backgrounds, and as being in a position to perform several different jobs.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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