The Herman Trend Alert
More Employers Will Seek Older Workers
April 6, 2005
“As the labor market continues to tighten, employers will intensify their competitive search for qualified workers. They will seek competent, experienced, dependable people with a strong work ethic and proven ability to take care of business. Employers will be eager to hire skilled workers who understand the true meaning of customer service, who can communicate well with others, and who can draw on their experience to solve problems and make progress. Workers who can take initiative, follow through, and coach others will be in high demand.
Older workers meet these qualifications–and more. Employers prefer seniors’ ability to initiate sales and demonstrate dependability, their varied work experience, a higher capacity to work with mature clientele, and an old-fashioned work ethic. They describe appreciation for punctuality, positive attitudes, commitment to quality, lower absenteeism, and less likelihood to change jobs.”
I cannot tell you how many prospective clients for my executive resume writing services express pessimism, dismay, discouragement, and even fear of encountering age discrimination in their search for executive employment. The spectre of age discrimination seems to be haunting ever younger and younger candidates, to the point that it has become a concern as early as age 38-40.
The absurdity and foolishness of this trend has been demonstrated in so many ways throughout corporate America. The potential consequences of large-scale rejection of older, more experienced, and frankly wiser talent in favor of cheaper but almost inevitably less experienced and more naive up-and-comers are dire. Older executives, by and large, possess a blend of dependability, maturity, old-fashioned work ethic, and ability to draw on extensive experience to solve problems that is generally lacking in younger workers.
The good news is that employers and recruiters alike report difficulty in finding workers with the right set of skills and that growth in employment of workers 55 and older has outpaced all other sectors since 2001. This is in line with an overall trend in which employers are Feeling the Pinch of a tight labor market, where finding qualified people is steadily becoming more challenging.
What does all of this mean for the older executive in career transition? It means that you can enter the market more confidently than before. It also means that you must vividly demonstrate in your executive resume and in interviews the depth of experience, initiative, wisdom, leadership, and mentoring skills you offer that cannot be found in your younger counterparts.