Friday, July 24, 2015

Spotlight on mature job seekers

Mature workers
Mature Workers courtesy of Fifty plus Advocates
Providing assistance to mature job seekers can be especially rewarding.  Community members who have experience in the work force often bring a more balanced perspective and realistic expectations to the process.

When approached by a 50+ patron seeking assistance with a job search, be open minded and do a thorough reference interview before recommending resources or training. Do a quick "reality check" on your assumptions about the market for older workers and the skills and abilities they bring to the work force. Some mature workers may be intentionally seeking part-time employment, others may desire full-time positions. Don't start by recommending remedial software or internet search training - many mature job-seekers have great tech skills.

According to Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013, 86.8% of Americans in the 45 to 64 age group have computers and 78.7 have internet access.  Computer ownership and internet connectivity fall to 65.1% and 58.3% respectively for American over age 64. Ask, before you assume that your patron needs assistance with basic computing skills.   And be sure to bring the same enthusiasm to the process that you would to working with a new college graduate.

According to "The Suddenly Hot Job Market for Workers Over 50", Money Magazine, March 2, 2015, the market for older employees has been improving this year. "The latest data show the unemployment rate for those over age 55 stands at just 4.1%, compared with 5.7% for the total population and a steep 18.8% for teens. The ranks of the long-term unemployed, which ballooned during the recession as mature workers lost their jobs, are coming down. Age-discrimination charges have fallen for six consecutive years. And now, as the job market lurches back to life, more companies are wooing the silver set with formal retraining programs."

In addition to the jobs websites I've featured in earlier posts, these websites might be helpful for mature job-seekers.

Seniorjobbank: job-search-for-over50.cfmFor more than a decade now, has been committed to bringing together employers with qualified older job seekers arms the older workforce with employment resources and career information to achieve their goals. 

Retired Brains: Founded in 2003,  RetiredBrains is the largest independent job and information resource for boomers, retirees and people planning their retirement. 

Written by:
Martha Berninger, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning