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Is Your Career in Jeopardy If You’re Too Old?

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elderly-people-on-computerAge discrimination is illegal but that doesn’t mean that people who are in their 40’s and 50’s have the same opportunities that younger workers enjoy.

In today’s economy where it is difficult for everyone to find a job, older people have even more challenges. However, the trend of an older workforce is growing with participation rates for those 55 and older at 40.2% in 2011.

Here are some challenges today’s older workforce faces in getting and keeping their jobs.


Age Stereotypes

Many employers have preconceived ideas about people based on their age.

For instance, it is commonly thought that older people have a harder time learning new concepts and technologies. They may be seen as resistant to change or lack respect for their younger superiors.

While these things may not be true, they are often the perception, which can limit the hiring prospects of older workers.

The best way to handle this is to be the one to address the issue.

Mention any new courses or classes that you have taken or the latest technology you are using. This shows the employer that you are willing to learn new skills and have the ability to adapt to change.


Higher Pay

Employers also recognize the cost of paying someone with experience over someone just starting out in the workforce.

In order to save money, an employer might choose a young college graduate with no experience over someone who is already making twice the salary even if they are more qualified.

Even if you are willing to take a pay cut, most businesses would be worried that you’d still be looking for a job with better pay. You could mention some benefits that you feel the job offers besides salary that would reassure a potential employer.

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Language Barrier

While many people speak English, they don’t all speak the same kind of English.

Phrases and communication styles of the younger crowd are foreign to those in their 40’s and beyond. Often the older generations can come across as unsocial or unwilling to collaborate when they really don’t understand what the younger generation is saying.

To prevent this, older workers need to work on learning how to communicate with their younger counterparts and be willing to ask for clarification.


Common Fears

Both sides often worry that the other person doesn’t understand them, respect them, or value their contribution. They may feel intimidated by the other person’s knowledge.

This is why it is essential that you communicate your concerns to the other person so that there are no misunderstandings. Young employees can assist older workers in learning new skills and understanding new technologies and methods.

At the same time, older workers can share their experiences and capabilities with those younger than them.


All age groups have something to teach everyone else; it’s important that they take the time to listen and don’t let the challenges defeat them.


About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and reviews.

This is a Guest post. If you would like to submit a guest post to CareerAlley, please follow these guest post guidelines.

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