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OLDER AMERICANS MONTH MAY 2019 - Recognize the value of age diversity

In the May 1, 2019 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission bulletin, the EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic, stated that in "Today’s strong economy is good news for workers as there are millions of job openings and many workers are in high demand. While that should be good news for older workers, we see little sign that employers are seeking out older workers to fill that demand. Many employers have diversity and inclusion strategies and tactics – but most don’t include age. That’s a lost opportunity."(

According to the Department of Labor (DOL) blog in 2016, they cited our workforce is aging and by 2024, nearly 1 in 4 people in the labor force are projected to be age 55 or over. The DOL cited two reasons for this trend. 1st: An aging population: baby boomers − those born from 1946 to 1964 − are moving into older age groups. By 2024, the youngest will be 59 years old. 2nd: An increasing labor force participation rate among older workers.  Their researched showed many older workers are remaining in the labor force longer than those from previous generations. According to one study, about 60 percent of older workers with a “career job” retire and move to a “bridge job”; that is, a short-term and/or part-time position. Another study found that about half of retirees followed nontraditional paths of retirement in that they did not exit the labor force permanently. ( )

More Americans are working later in life than perhaps any time in the nation's history -- or at least since the advent of Social Security in 1935 as the nation suffered through the Great Depression.

More older Americans are staying in, or trying to return to, the workplace. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics among those 65 to 69, almost a third — 31.2 percent — were working.

according to newly released data from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analyzed by investment and financial-planning firm United Income. As of February, about 20% of Americans over age 65 — a total of 10.6 million people — are either working or looking for work, representing a 57-year high.

On a sad note, despite the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which aims to protect the rights of workers over age 40, a depressing national statistic from ProPublica's Health and Retirement Study found that "between the time older workers enter the study and when they leave paid employment, 56 percent are laid off at least once or leave jobs under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily. Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did before their employment setbacks, our analysis showed. Even years afterward, the household incomes of over half of those who experience such work disruptions remain substantially below those of workers who don’t." (

It can be more difficult for older employees to find new jobs. A 2015 study by the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Psychology and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management found that unemployed Americans over 50 are likely to be job hunting for six weeks longer than those in their 30s and 40s and nearly 11 weeks longer than those in their 20s. Making things more challenging, nearly half of job seekers 55 and older who recently had become re-employed said they were earning less than what they earned in their previous job, according to a 2015 survey by the AARP Public Policy Institute.

In support for older Americans trying to get back into the workforce, websites like The Balance Careers, LiveCareer and WomenforHire offer expert tips:

-- It may be tempting, but don't accept a job that doesn't pay what you are worth. Like sex or race, age should never be a determining factor when it comes to salary.

-- Emphasize your experience. You may have decades of work history, something younger workers simply don't have. Highlight it in your job materials and interviews.

-- Highlight your job skills, in and out of the workplace. Almost every job has some requirements in common, including reliability, detail-oriented, patience and leadership skills.

-- Spend some time networking in the field of work you seek. It's an ideal way to learn about job openings -- and may help you get a foot in the door.

-- Age-proof your resume by limiting what you include and placing it in chronological order. This will help you avoid any stigma of being "too old" by a prospective employer. If you attended college, don't include attendance and graduation dates.

-- On your cover letter, highlight your most relevant experience to convince the reader of your experience in the field. Mention a few specific  accomplishments in the cover letter and quantify them using data and numbers wherever possible. Express some understanding of the company’s current challenges and demonstrate that you have solutions. Use the cover letter to communicate the personality traits and soft skills that your resume does not communicate.

-- Ace the job interview. Tell the prospective employer about creative ideas that improved your previous employer's bottom line or made the company more efficient. Articulate your enthusiasm and explain why you want to work for this organization. Demonstrate communication skills. i.e.  your ability to communicate is on display during a job interview. Provide specific examples. Don't just say you have good problem-solving skills. Describe a scenario when you successfully resolved an issue.

I agree with Lipnic, as unretirement is the new norm, employers should be valuing the talent of experienced workers as part of a diverse, multi-generational workforce and should be implementing the strategies she cites in the May 1, 2019 EEOC bulletin to counter age bias by changing workplace practices, such as promoting a workplace culture that extols ability and rejects ageist stereotypes.

DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America has proclaimed May 2019 as Older Americans Month and has called upon "all Americans to honor our elders, acknowledge their contributions, care for those in need, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to older Americans this month and throughout the year." (

Let's all do our part!

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