If you are over 45 and suddenly find yourself made redundant or seeking a career change, the thought of having to hit the job trail and compete against people years younger than yourself can be downright scary.
But take heart — as a mature-age job seeker you have plenty to offer, and employers are increasingly valuing your unique set of skills and experiences. And rightly so — the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 85 per cent of new employment growth will come from those aged over 45 by Now more than ever, it is imperative for both job-seekers and employers to get with the times and recognise the value that Jobs for mature age people workers offer.
These barriers need to be overcome — whether they are real or perhaps perceived. Diversity of skills and experience in a workforce can provide competitive advantages. The Australian Human Rights Commission has found that mature-age employees can save costs to employers by staying in their jobs longer — in contrast to sometimes fickle Gen Y workers.
Workers aged over 55 are five times less likely to change jobs compared with workers aged 20 to 24, and this directly reduces ongoing recruitment and training costs. And contrary to the perception that older workers are less healthy, ABS data has also found that mature-age workers were the least likely group to take days off due to illness, thereby reducing costs and negative impacts on productivity.
One of Jobs for mature age people most common myths about older workers is that they are less technologically savvy than their younger colleagues — but older people are, in fact, the fastest-growing users of technology. Critchley enumerates the many assets that older workers bring to the table.
These include a wider skills base and broader experience, greater wisdom and maturity, a solid work ethic, ability to speak their mind and take action, reliability, dependability and loyalty to their employer. Mature-age workers could also be key to businesses in hard economic times.
Marketplace perceptions of mature-age workers can vary a lot depending on the market segment, says Phil Hatchard of Adage, a website which Jobs for mature age people to mature-age job seekers and Jobs for mature age people age-friendly employers. Small and medium enterprises SMEs tend to be extremely receptive to mature-age candidates, valuing their versatility and breadth and depth of experience, which can be invaluable to small and medium-sized businesses.
Recruiters, on the other hand, can present more of a challenge as their age profile tends to be more youthful. Larger and higher-volume recruitment agencies find it hard to educate their consultants about the value of hiring maturity. Of course this is not grounded in fact. Perceptions of older workers in the corporate world depend on the industry, but in the last five years there has been a huge shift towards the diversity agenda.
According to Hatchard, government and not-for-profit organisations are the leaders in best practice when it comes to equal employment opportunities and diversity principles, valuing mature workers for their loyalty, stability and experience.
So if you are a mature-age job seeker, these might be good sectors to target in your job search. But luckily, it's never too late to learn. Technology may be the only thing between you and someone from another generation. Bring yourself up to speed in using the Internet, computer skills, and resume and cover letter presentation and content. It is important to recognise that even if you have worked in one industry for Jobs for mature age people long time, your skills are transferable — and this is something you need to emphasise to potential employers.
Do whatever you can to make contacts, network, keep in the loop and keep updated. Bring your business cards with you wherever you go. He also suggests that you select a reputable executive search or recruitment firm to provide you with advice and guidance on who may be hiring in your space, as well as keeping up on industry news via online newsletters or business trade magazines to find out where the activity is, what projects are Jobs for mature age people and which companies are currently flourishing in the market.
Mature-age workers have just as much if not more to offer an employer as younger workers.
So walk tall and hold your head up high, knowing that you have plenty to offer a future employer. Want to know the MBA definition?
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