There’s a stereotypical view of job opportunities available for older workers. Common belief is that you think that if you are past 50 wanting to get back into the workforce or make a career change — forget it. Or, opportunities for older workers in the new economy are pretty much nonexistent. And even worse, if you’re in your 50s or 60s and retired the only spots available are low-skilled and low-paying. That is simply not true.
So I thought I would help dispel a few of those myths.
MYTH 1: I’m not going to find a good job.
REALITY: Baby boomers are getting jobs with better pay, status and working conditions than prior generations of older workers.
For one thing, many boomers are living longer and staying healthier than prior generations. So they’re able to take on more demanding work and are better able to keep pace with younger peers. That means more opportunities for older workers.
Then there’s a critical factor that may give older workers a leg up on younger ones: experience. Older Americans have much more work experience than younger ones and may even seem like better prospects to many employers.
Baby boomers are also better educated than previous generations of older workers, making them much better able to compete for positions.
MYTH 2: You can’t take time off or retire, and then get back into the workforce
REALITY: About 40 percent of people who retire or take a break, return to work typically within two years.
Those findings come from data from the Health and Retirement Study funded by the National Institute on Aging and conducted at the University of Michigan. They have tracked thousands of people over 50 during the past two decades. About 60 percent of the study participants who took career breaks moved into new professions.
Another surprise from the research into retirees who take breaks and then return to work — Economic necessity doesn’t appear to play a big role in the decision. We think people are continuing to work in later life, because they like their work.
Older workers who do take time off should be aware that the odds of becoming re-employed decline with age. According to a biennial survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, 73 percent of 25- to 54-year-olds who lost jobs between 2013 and 2015 that they had held for three or more years were re-employed by January 2016. For 55- to 64-year-olds, in contrast, the figure is 60 percent.
MYTH 3: I’m not going to make as big of a contribution as I did in the past.
REALITY: Older workers can play a more vital role than ever before.
When it comes to productivity, most academic studies show little to no relationship between age and job performance. The popular view of older workers as dead wood simply isn’t true. But some research goes even further: In jobs that require experience, these studies show that older adults have a performance edge.
So wisdom doesn’t just help basic job performance: It makes older workers into valuable role models for younger employees.
MYTH 4: The chance to be an entrepreneur has passed me by.
REALITY: Americans in their 50s and 60s make up a growing share of entrepreneurs.
According to the nonprofit Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 represented 24.3 percent of the entrepreneurs who launched businesses in 2015.
Experts say that with years of experience and savings to back their ideas, the baby boomers typically have advantages that younger adults lack when it comes to launching new ventures. Perhaps as a result, older entrepreneurs have higher success rates.
So whether you want to go back into the workforce as an employee, or entrepreneur, age can equal experience and be one of your best assets. Check on opportunities on our new website – www.manpowersandiego.com, you might be pleasantly surprised.