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Changing attitudes to older workers can start with changing language: view from the US

by on March 26, 2013

More from the US on the position of workers in the 55 plus age group. When members of this group lose jobs, they have the most difficulty finding new ones.

This article from The Plain Dealer on the website makes a number of points about the current job search experience of older workers.

Even those with a good track record, good computer skills and a strong work ethic are experiencing problems with finding a job. Employers are deterred from hiring them, apparently fearing higher increased (health) insurance costs associated with older workers.

This group also suffers the greatest salary loss and often has a relatively short time left to prepare for retirement. Limited help is available e.g. through an AARP programme. This is federally funded and gives low-income job seekers aged 55 plus a trial employment option, where their salary and benefits are paid for up to a month while the employer decides whether to hire.

The article also talks about changing attitudes and how this can start with changing the language. Michelle Simko, project director of the AARP programme, is quoted as saying:

‘They are “mature” workers, not “seniors.”

“If I said to you: ‘We have some seniors for you,’ you would probably think of your mother,” she said. “And you would think: ‘I’m not going to hire my mother.’

Interesting! I’ve certainly seen specialist job agencies in the UK brand older workers as ‘mature’.

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