America’s Moment Of Reckoning For Older Workers

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By Chris Farrell, next avenue

The movement at ground level in the direction of the long work feels as if it is at the moment of reckoning.

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According to the Pew Research Center, the ranks of 55+ retirees have increased by 3.5 million over the past two years, much higher than the pre-pandemic rate. This shift is one reason some employers are struggling to have enough workers to meet rising consumer demand. Therefore, economists wonder how many recently retired people want to “retire” and return to full-time or part-time work (assuming continued progress against COVID-19)?

Perhaps the more important question is this: If retirees want to rejoin the workforce after the pandemic, will employers welcome their applications?

No one can dispel the fog of job uncertainty. But a recent visit I visited in Palm Beach County, Fla., where about 25% of residents are 65+, offered a glimmer of hope. (Palm Beach County may suggest images of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago playground-like mansions, but the third most populous county in Florida has a median annual household income of $66,623, the highest for the entire United States. only slightly above comparable figures.)

The Wisdom and Experience Works for Business Awards

I was there to talk to Encore Palm Beach County, a nonprofit that connects 50+ people with new work and volunteer opportunities in the area. EncorePBC hosted its first Wisdom & Experience Works for Business Awards breakfast on October 29, with approximately 70 people gathered at Hilton Airport.

My talk comes from my book “Purpose and a Paycheck” about insights and some ideas about how the pandemic may affect the job market for people in the second half of life. (This was my first business trip in two years and EncorePBC paid for my travel expenses.)

Karen Roberts, 63, EncorePBC board member and long-time human resources professional, said eighteen government, for-profit and non-profit organizations clamored for award recognition because of how they “value mature workers and support intergenerational work teams.” stands by.” Participating companies and groups came from a wide range of industries including healthcare, insurance, fintech and floor installers.

Palm Beach County municipalities’ award nominations showed that their government agencies are also working to change perceptions of older workers.

For example, in their Encore PBC application for accreditation, Boynton Beach city officials noted that more than a third of its workforce is 50 years of age and older and that its mature workers “mentor young employees, helping them Helps develop your situational awareness and emotional intelligence that can take years to acquire.” Similarly, government leaders in Delray Beach note that the head of their city’s payroll process took office at the age of 77 after retiring at age 75.

Encore PBC founder Rosemary Nixon, an 82-year-old certified retirement coach who retired from her job as a financial advisor in 2010, told me in an interview after the incident: “Our feeling is that people need to recognize this. I’m starting to talk about what mature workers bring to the table and the value of interstate workplace,

The award winners demonstrated it with courage.

The Club of Ibis, a private golf resort community, won the award in the Small Employer category. More than a third of its employees are 50 and older; The age of its workforce ranges from 16 to their mid-80s. The club offers flexible, part-time and on-call employment opportunities.

The big employer was the winning Palm Beach County school district; 44% of its employees are 50+. The school district offers a program for residents with long careers in an area looking to become teachers in their area. Encore Career,

what changed in the last 5 years

Here’s the thing: The Wisdom and Experience event was very different from my similar association with EncorePBC in 2016, when Nixon founded the organization.

At the time, EncorePBC was more focused on creating volunteer opportunities. The small number of people who participated were engaged, but our conversations about repeat careers and working longer hours were tentative. Employers were not a noticeable presence.

“I initially focused on recruiting volunteers at nonprofits,” recalled Nixon. “But more and more people were contacting us looking for work.”

I’ve learned that over five years the difference has been striking.

EncorePBC’s mailing list now has over 1,000 people. The organization’s reach expanded during COVID-19 as the group held more seminars on Zoom. The phenomenon I talked about at this point – I’m happy to say it – is built around a group of employers who want to retain experienced workers and expect to hire more.

Something else that has changed: EncorePBC’s increasing emphasis on inter-generational relationships.

My closing remarks attacked the myth of inter-generational warfare and elicited the greatest response from the audience.

“Don’t fall for talking about intergenerational war between generations. Intergenerational war is a fake war, a dangerous myth,” I said. “Despite the difference in age and experience, what is remarkable is how each generation inevitably values ​​many of the same things, including engagement in the workplace.”

laying the groundwork

Fortunately, there are a large number of individuals and organizations across the country trying to change perceptions about older workers and improve inter-generational relationships, such as’s Gen2Gen initiative.

Like EncorePBC, however, most of these projects are underfunded and, frankly, are still struggling to find receptive employers.

Yet overall, the foundation for a different hiring environment is being laid. This is not 2016, let alone the 1990s.

Nixon and Roberts tell me they are already working on an awards ceremony for next year, and they believe it will be even bigger than this year. Nixon said, “I feel like a kid. My work with Encore makes me feel young.”

I expect many retired recently Will Wants to return to the workforce once the fear of COVID-19 is over. Many will look for part-time jobs and flexible work schedules. Some will seek repeat careers to serve others.

And if employers start hiring older applicants – still a big if – my guess is that there will be many more retirees than history suggests.

However, if employers keep complaining about their inability to find the talent they need and fail to make job offers to experienced workers, retirees will remain retired. And many of them will find meaning and purpose elsewhere in their lives.


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