Are you too old to be hired?
Do you ever wonder if you’re too old to land another job? Or that your age is a barrier to what you really want to do?
Now, those of you who already know me will know I get on my high horse about ageism in the workplace and how I believe we are NEVER TOO OLD to reinvent our careers. Yes, that’s right – we are NEVER TOO OLD to be the person we were born to be.
You’ll also know that I help professionals to embrace their ability regardless of age (yes, it’s not just the over 50’s who are concerned about ageism, just this week I spoke with a client who is concerned about being 41 and feeling ‘too old’!)
I recently delivered a webinar for over 55’s for 55/Redefined and upon following them on their social channels was inspired by one of their posts about Colleen Heidemann, who is now 73 and started modelling at the age of 69.
She is absolutely stunning, full of energy and I want to be like her when I grow up (just for the record I’m 63 and have no intention of slowing down for a long time yet!)
The link to their post on Instagram that captured my attention and excitement is in my shownotes at janejacksoncoach.com/podcast … you see Colleen Heidemann in action and you’ll see she’s wearing a t-shirt with the slogan: OLD IS THE NEW BLACK!
Of course I had to go and buy myself the t-shirt, “Old is the New Black” too. And you know what? I love it (but my husband didn’t understand what it meant when I first put it on … )
As my dear friend and author of ‘Ageing Fearlessly’ Karen Sander says, “Ageing is inevitable but GROWING OLD is a choice’. So I’d like to know how do YOU define ‘too old’?
In fact, I’d like to ask you, “Too old for what?”
For instance, if you’re over 30, over 40, over 50, over 60, over 70 are you too old to:
To contribute your years of experience and knowledge to benefit someone who’s problems you can help to solve?
To be considered as an individual rather than an age-bracket?
Are you too old to learn something new?
Or to try something different?
And TO MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT?
Unfortunately, according to a 2021 report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, age discrimination remains a significant issue in the workplace, affecting both job seekers and employees.
Here are some statistics on ageism in the workplace in Australia:
- Around 27% of workers over the age of 50 reported experiencing age discrimination in the workplace.
- Older job seekers are more likely to experience long-term unemployment, with the average duration of unemployment for workers aged 55 and over being around 71 weeks.
- Older workers are more likely to be retrenched or have their contracts terminated, and they find it more challenging to secure new job opportunities than younger workers.
and this one surprised me:
Despite being a protected attribute under Australian law, only 56% of workers are aware that age discrimination is illegal.
So how can we overcome ageism in the workplace? Here are some strategies:
- Upskilling: By staying current with technological advancements and industry trends, we mature-age professionals can demonstrate our continued relevance in the workplace. [By the way I’m very excited about how rapidly AI is enhancing our lives – some see it as a threat, I am finding ways to use it to help in a myriad of ways in my life].
- Networking: Stay connected! Don’t shy away from reaching out and building connections within your industry (and new industries) and staying engaged with professional organisations can help to expand your job search and keep you informed about new opportunities. [I know many feel that ‘networking’ is schmoozing and a bit ‘icky’ but if you think of it as an opportunity to learn about someone else, to offer help, and to gain feedback and advice then that’s not so bad is it?]
- Highlighting transferable skills: Emphasise your transferable skills, you have many that are relevant across different jobs and industries, and create strong accomplishment statements that demonstrate your value to potential employers and also highlight the RESULTS you achieve. [If you need help to do this, you’ll find it in my Career Success Program.]
- Addressing negative stereotypes: Mature-age professionals can help to dispel negative stereotypes about ageing in the workplace by being open to new ideas, new ways of doing thing, new technology, asking questions and being genuinely interested in learning from professionals of any age. [And just because you are of a ‘certain age’ it doesn’t mean you have to dress like an ‘oldie’ or ‘one of the greys’ – dress to express your personality and professionalism!]
To overcome ageism it requires a collective effort from employers, employees, and society as a whole.
I’d like to ask you: How are you helping to promote a culture of inclusivity and respect for all generations?
What else can we do to create a more equitable and age-diverse workplace?
Let’s keep the conversation going and I’d love you to send me a message on LinkedIn or share a post of you in action showing your energy and enthusiasm regardless of age and tag me so I know!
Psssst … here’s a little known secret … at the ripe age of 40 I choreographed and performed in a musical about the final days of Bugis Street in Singapore. We opened at Raffles Hotel and received standing ovations each night (and rather scathing reviews from the critics!) and it was SO MUCH FUN!
My dancers were all in their late teens and twenties and we all had the best time together. That’s just to highlight that we are NEVER TOO OLD! And if every generation embraced what other generations add to their life experience. Just for fun, here’s the link to a brief snippet of our Finalé on YouTube!
Until next time … stay happy, healthy and keep an open mind!