Ageism, Caregiving Jobs and Mature Workers

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: March 13, 2016

The greatest scourge for mature workers is ageism in the workplace, the so-called elephant in the room. It exists in every sector, in any industry.

According to a report by Reuters, AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) - a non-profit advocacy membership and advocacy group for people aged 50 and over – found in its 2013 survey of 1,502 adults, that two-thirds of workers who were between 45 -74 had seen or experienced ageism.

This is so, despite the prohibition of discrimination against people 40 and over, by the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967.

There are several factors contributing to ageism, and among these are the persistent stereotypes and biases, conscious or unconscious, still held by many.

Among these common negative attitudes about older workers is that they are harder to teach new skills; they are not as tech-savvy as the younger ones; they are set in their ways.

Hence, when there is a need to retrench, or downsize, the first casualties are often the older workers.

To compound the problem, the workplace profile is changing – with a lot of millennials joining the workforce and a lot of baby boomers still wanting to stay on. Hence, a generation gap exists in the workplace, which can result in conflicts.

It is even more challenging when a baby boomer gets to work for a boss who is younger. A 2013 Ernst and Young study found that “different work expectations (77%) and a lack of comfort with younger employees managing older employees (72%) were the leading challenges identified across all generations.”

Reuters also said in its report, the trend of ageism will continue: “The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 20,588 charges of age discrimination in 2014, a rise from 17,837 a decade earlier. Although the number dropped from a peak of 24,582 in 2008, legal and employment experts said it is a common phenomenon that will increase with millennials eager to enter the workforce and baby boomers reluctant to leave it.”

Why Baby Boomers Want to Stay
The top reason for baby boomers' wanting to stay in the workplace is economic. Many older workers have not saved enough for retirement, and continuing to work beyond 65 is a matter of necessity.

Others though still feel capable, and it's more for self-growth and fulfillment that inspires them to choose to work beyond retirement age. According to a 2014 Gallup study, many baby boomers, well-known for being hardworking, cannot envision themselves downshifting into a slower pace of life.

Challenge of Job Search for Older Workers
As with employed older workers, unemployed mature workers, or those employed but seeking greener pastures, face discrimination in their job search.

However, a world of opportunity awaits baby boomers seeking work or wanting to change jobs – in the caregiving industry.

Opportunities in the Caregiving Industry
A caregiving job may not be a well-paying job. The median pay for a personal care aide job is $9.83 per hour/$20,440 per year. Still, it is something worthwhile, especially with a growing elderly population needing personal care.

The BLS' Occupational Outlook Handbook says that employment of personal care aides is projected to grow 26 percent from 2014 to 2024.

An AARP study, “Caregiving Innovation Frontiers” (CIF) projects that the overall caregiving market opportunity will grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2020, and that by 2020 the market could reach an annual revenue total of more than $72 billion. (RoseMark

The above study, in fact, highlights the plight of unpaid caregivers; the field indeed strongly needs innovation, through the use of technology. At the same time, enterprising older workers can start their own caregiving businesses.

Another report, by Senior Housing News, said that “while the AARP report focused mainly on the needs of unpaid caregivers, senior living providers well know that they too stand to benefit from innovations that can improve care and increase business efficiency.”

Being a baby boomer, life in the workplace, and in the journey for better opportunities, can be frustrating especially when ageism is felt. But it does not mean the end of the road. If there's a will, there's a way. And baby boomers, being in the same life stage as the people needing personal care, can offer much in terms of empathy, patience, compassion and skills., the largest job board online, is a career opportunity resource and job search engine for the cultural diversity marketplace. Through, you can hire diversity professionals for your diversity and equal opportunity employment needs. Visit <a href="" target="_blank">DiversityWorking</a> now.

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