The issue of the elderly in the workplace is rather commonplace in the realm of employment in the US. Indeed, there are some companies that are being indecisive when it comes to hiring and retaining older employees. There are also other instances wherein unfair treatment and other incidents of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation towards them become prevalent, especially during the hiring process and during promotions. The good news, though, is that many of the elderly, especially those who are near their retirement age, are getting hired. Bad news is that they are getting paid less.
That last point in the longstanding issues of the elderly when it comes to careers and the workplace is what the AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, found out in a survey conducted by the non-government organization’s Public Policy Institute. The survey, which was released just last March 2015 and is entitled “The Long Road Back: Struggling to Find Work After Unemployment,” finds that although the unemployed elderly get to land jobs, they actually earn less than they did previously.
A total of 2,492 respondents aged 45 to 70 responded to the survey, all of which were unemployed at some point over the past five years. The study revealed that nearly half of them, or 48 percent, earned less than they did in their previous work. It becomes worse for those who got hired but were unemployed for a long time for about at least six months or so. About 59 percent of them have obtained jobs with lower yearly earnings. Surprisingly, 29 percent of the unemployed, as well as the 25 percent of those who were unemployed for a long time, have landed on jobs where they earn more.
One takeaway from the survey findings is that it is more than ever, the older unemployed are having difficulty getting rehired than their younger counterparts. In fact, half of them who have been unemployed over the last five years don’t have jobs; they’re either still looking for work or have already given up doing so. Around 73 percent of those who responded in the survey have been trying to look for jobs for at least six months or longer.
Another takeaway is that for those who were able to land jobs, 53 percent of them actually had to change occupations just so they could get to work. Indeed, it was necessary for them to be able to land jobs. But the most glaring statistic coming from the survey is that 12 percent of them say that age discrimination significantly affected their ability to be hired, followed by discrimination on account of one’s status as unemployed.
Despite the negative points that the findings provided, there are also positive things. Of note, nearly half of the newly-hired employees were able to experience better working conditions than in their previous work.
Age discrimination, as well as other factors, can truly make it hard for the older unemployed to get hired, sometimes to the point that they just quit becoming part of the workforce. But then, the elderly who still have the gusto to contribute their knowledge and skills can make it easy for them to land jobs by being aggressive in their job hunt and not putting up any delays in looking for work after becoming unemployed.