CURRENT JOB SITUATION
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics surprised me with a recent announcement regarding the current job situation here in America. In saying there is a weak recovery for “Middle-Aged Job Hunters”, that is only stating the obvious. What surprised me is that by their calculations, those who are between the ages of 35 and 54 are now considered “Middle-Aged”. I guess that now makes me just plain “old”, a senior at 58.
But here’s the good news: Old folks like me are now doing better at finding work that those middle-aged youngsters. “Kids”, those in their 20’s just out of school, are also apparently doing well in this difficult job market. It’s no secret that younger employees can usually be hired at a lower wage than older workers. With tight company budgets, that makes younger people very attractive.
What helps make their talents and skills more attractive to employers is they’ve grown up using technologies that are essential today in the workplace. While we seniors learned to use a computer and developed some degree of social media skills along the way, younger workers have always been comfortable and familiar working and playing with computers. Social media is how they communicate between themselves. For most seniors, our grand-kids have to teach us, so we can stay in touch and communicate with them.
WHY THERE ARE PLENTY OF JOBS FOR SENIORS
But here’s the deal with older workers that confirms there are plenty of jobs for seniors: We’ve got other smarts that take time to learn. Experience does count. Flexible work schedules and more negotiated time off is what many of us are looking for. Let those kids work 60 hours per week and never take time off for vacation. They’re trying to get ahead. We’re trying just to get by. Many seniors will accept lower wages in return for flexible work schedules. That gives us an edge over middle-aged workers. Seniors frequently come with their own medical coverage, especially if we’re over 65. If we happen to be victims of downsizing, many older workers are clinging to their COBRA coverage, and can take it along while they work for another employer.
ENTREPRENEURIAL JOB CREATION
Here are two words that can open doors and create jobs for seniors: Contract Labor.
Rather than becoming an “employee”, offer to come on board as a “1099 contract worker”. (The 1099 is an IRS tax status that is different than being a W-2 employee.) Frequently, as a contract worker, you can command a higher wage since the employer isn’t going to provide traditional benefits, such as health insurance and paid vacations, that are expensive to employer. s Your work engagements may just run for a specific period of time, but you’ll have money coming in and not be tied to an 8-5, five day per week job.
There are plenty of jobs for seniors. We just can’t think in traditional terms in hopes of landing them.