9 Lives for Women Blog

Keep Your Work Engine Running | March 26th, 2013

Nearing or in “retirement” after a longtime career but not ready to stop working? Wondering who would want to hire someone “of your age”? Well, lots of employers would like to hire you, actually. And the jobs don’t all involve bagging groceries or giving museum tours.

What’s the proof? One promising sign is that how to keep workers working longer has been a subject at a very high-level gathering—the World Economic Forum in Davos. Read an article that appeared on CNN Money in 2011, “Why Companies Need to Start Hiring Older Workers”. (I missed this article when it was published, but decided it was still worth mentioning now when I saw it recently on a demographer’s Twitter feed.)

In this article the CEO of the prestigious Boston Consulting Group says “we have to give people a chance in their 60s and early 70s to continue to work”.  His reasoning? As populations age, society turns top heavy, with young workers supporting the masses of retirees.

Even more to the point is that retirement often equals a knowledge drain. In the article the CEO points out that aging workers leave with knowledge and training that will never be replaced—because schools aren’t preparing students for the kinds of jobs that are being cut.

This means that companies should not be fixated on bringing in young “new blood”. They should balance the influx of young workers with a continued reliance on older workers who have valuable experience and insights that can be applied to new challenges.

If keeping older workers working has been a topic at Davos (and many other high-level business and economic gatherings), it’s a topic you should be raising with companies that could offer you an interesting second or third act. It’s no longer true that older workers or retirees should be put out to pasture. Don’t let hyped up newspaper headlines or myopic job board listings convince you that opportunity has passed you by.  Realize that many people in your rich network could create roles for you that may not yet exist. You’re not done yet: you can take many more interesting laps around the track. —KAS

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