Extra! Extra! Read All About it! According to a recent article in Fortune magazine, a full copy of which you’ll find here:
“The November unemployment rate for people 55 and older is lower than for any younger age group, welcome news for a group that often worries about being shut out of jobs by age bias.”
This is great news, isn’t it? Assuming we take this claim at face value and don’t look too hard for flaws in the statistical logic?
On a related note, another client sent along yet another recent article published by Wharton Business School that talks about the “Silver Tsunami” and the societal shift that’s taking place in terms of so many older workers needing to find continued employment, versus retiring and playing golf for the next 30 years, as planned. Interestingly, though, this article (which you’ll find here) contains a slightly different contention. Early on in the article, there’s a passage that states that “Data show that people over the age of 55 find it harder to land jobs than their younger counterparts.”
While these two articles may seem to contradict each other, on the surface, I suppose this isn’t necessarily the case — since the Fortune piece is really only speaking to employment levels in November, whereas the Wharton article may be pulling from a longer, longitudinal data set. Hard to say, exactly. And I’m not sure how much it really even matters, in the long run, since while these kinds of “macro” trends and indicators are always kind of interesting, I personally find them to hold very little relevance to the actual individual (older worker or otherwise) looking for work. Why? Because, and please correct me if I’m wrong about this, if YOU’RE the one who doesn’t have a job and is looking for one, the unemployment rate is essentially 100%.
I’m just not sure how much it matters, in other words, whether the playing field out there is tilting slightly one way or another. Your mission as a job seeker doesn’t change. You need to get up each day, get your professional game face on, and go out hunting for an employer who is wrestling with a particular problem you’re able to solve for them. High-level labor forecasts and statistics don’t really factor into the equation much, from my perspective, unless you fully trust the data and are making some major long-term decisions involving potential career change or relocation. And even then…
This isn’t to diminish the two articles above, however. I think you’ll enjoy reading them both and it’s certainly refreshing to see some articles sharing a bit of good news, for a change. The Wharton article also contains a handy list of “myths” related to older and more experienced workers — as well as some helpful suggestions on how an individual in this demographic can help combat and deflect potential discrimination they might encounter. Good stuff!
Happy reading — and thanks again to the two clients who passed these articles along to me!