Is 64 Too Old to Work Anymore?

Nancy Anderson
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Older workers commonly work past the age of 65 to maintain their vitality, stay active and to save up more money for their retirement years. Yet, there is a disconnect among employers who think there should be an age limit when it comes to work. Many employers have some interesting opinions about hiring senior citizens who are on a job search in 2018.

Survey

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released its 2018 retirement survey report, and it shows that older workers often seek both full- and part-time employment in their golden years. Even though companies recognize the needs of seniors, they often have outdated biases against them. Transamerica's survey showed that two-thirds of employers, or 65 percent, said that "it depends on the person" when it comes to the age a person is too old to work. Of those companies that did list an age, the median age was 70, or five years beyond retirement.

Hiring older workers represents a different aspect of this survey. A total of 64 percent said "it depends the person" when it comes to actually hiring older people, while 12 percent said they were unsure of the maximum age they are willing to hire someone. The rest, or 24 percent of survey participants, said that they consider age 64 as the age someone is too old to hire.

Age Discrimination

The difficulty with employers saying 64 is too old to hire someone is that age discrimination against older workers is illegal, according to federal law. If someone does not have the skills or lacks a cultural fit, companies must have proof of this based on a candidate's resume, interview or behavior. Discrimination is not just about hiring older people on a job search, but it also deals with promotions, termination and development opportunities. Older employees must be given the same opportunities, benefits, perks and bonuses as everyone else on staff. Employers may face lawsuits or reprimands from the EEOC if they discriminate against an entire class of people, including older employees.

Solutions

There are several solutions to avoiding age discrimination or hindering older workers. Older people looking for work can update their skills, take classes and improve their soft skills to be more in line with a job description. Employers can adopt inclusive policies, endorsed and put into practice by executives, department heads and managers, that include age as a characteristic among race, ethnicity, gender and physical abilities.

Companies can also help workers as they approach retirement age. Rather than just throw someone a retirement party, HR can administer a program in concerted phases that help a worker move from full-time employment to full-on retirement while making the transition easier.

Older workers stay on the job for a variety of reasons, and it behooves companies to foster the development of these job seekers to make a better office environment. Older people also help businesses relate to a broader customer base, which improves an employer's bottom line.


Photo courtesy of Hussein Alazaat at Flickr.com

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @John Chiarello thanks for your comment. Sorry that you had to give up something that you really enjoy doing. Can you maybe still do your visual designing work on the side? That way you can keep your fingers on the pulse of that industry and maybe end up going back fulltime to visual design and let the trucking world go. Although I do understand that you can make a lot of money driving a truck - especially if you do long hauls. All the best in whichever you decide to do.

  • John Chiarello
    John Chiarello

    No where is this more apparent than in the visual design world. There might be some merit to the thought that in recent years, there has been a shift in the industry to UX / UI design skills, but after evolving and learning those skills in a corporate environment, I discovered the reality that it's just re-hashing basic design principles accepted many years ago with the addition of some cognitive theory relating to most average device users. The gap can happen with the addition of modern hand held devices. I designed an interface for an iPad app. before I really was a user of one. No matter, though. You do need to keep up with design trends which are targeted directly at the younger user market. That being said, it was difficult for me as an older worker to clearly embrace those trends. The good news is that visual design still spans many medias and reaches many age groups, but what I've found is that corporate America does not want to pay much for visual design, so I now make more money driving a truck.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @David L thanks for the comment. Couldn't have said it better. So very true. I see it over and over again. For instance, being in a retail store and needing assistance. You look around and all you see are young kids laughing about something that they are seeing on their phone. When you ask for assistance, you get a "I will be there in a minute" response. Uh - hello - I am the customer here who is purchasing so that you can have a job! Drives me crazy. And then there's the opposite end of the spectrum - the employee who has been working retail all of their lives and struggle to get around. They will be the ones to take care of you. It is a whole new generation here and it's not fun. What companies need to do is hold their feet to the fire - just like they did ours when we first started. I'm not sure what it is about companies today, either. You would think that they would want the experience and better work ethic from the older generation but they seem to want an inferior worker for minimum wage. I think that this trend will gradually change again and go more towards the middle of the road - as in those in their 40's and 50's. I think that those of us who are 64 and older are going to have to fight harder to be heard - to be noticed and be hired.

  • David L.
    David L.

    I agree, discrimination is very much alive out there. I have updated my resume to only list my recent job history in the past 20 years. It seems most companies want to hire fresh out of college grads. There is something to be said about the work ethics of the older generation verses the newbies. The older generation knows when it is time to start work, we start, and we work all the way to the end of the shift. Younger employees drag in at the last minute and now spend more time on their cell phone and social media on their computer then they do working. Sorry, just my venting. I know not all of the younger employees are not like this but the has surely been a culture change since the beginning of my career. Older workers have the experience and going back to college will not help if the reason you are being passed over is because of your age. With all this said, don't give up. As part of the older generation, we are not quitters. If someone would just post that job requiring 40 years minimum experience!

  • Brenda G.
    Brenda G.

    Well i was thing the same thing i had someiing like this happy to me at the age of 20 yuong this yuong. Lady was hight i was i was out and the manger wont to bring up one to assistant manger but she was i hight she was there longe then i now she wad do mad at manger she call me name i had nuthig to do with that geting job but what i am trying to said age older is sometime good she was steel in shool lot thig she could do because she was in shool

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for your comments. @Germaine R. have you tried networking? What about a temp agency? Recruiter? Make sure that you are exhausting all avenues. Many states have a statewide unemployment board that contains many jobs. Have you considered trying remote work? @Patricia W. do you have a particular school in mind? You might be able to contact the school directly. Many times jobs are not posted publicly but they might still ask for your resume because there is a job available. @Sheryl D. do you want to teach in the classroom or on the Internet? You should make that decision first and then start looking. If you want person-to-person teaching, see if you know anyone who is teaching at one of the schools that you are interested in and contact them. They may know of an opening. Or just contact the school directly and ask. As I said, many times the job postings from the school are only posted on the school site and nowhere else. There are many colleges who would welcome you wanting to teach their online courses. Good luck everyone.

  • Sheryl D.
    Sheryl D.

    I am 67 and I'm a retired lawyer who wants to teach law classes. Westcheseter ideas welcome

  • Sharon  Grubb
    Sharon Grubb

    Caregiver

  • Patricia W.
    Patricia W.

    I am 64 would like to work full time as a teachers aide.

  • Germaine R.
    Germaine R.

    At 58yrs young I'm having hell-a hard time finding any job. Employers thi no I'm so ready 2 collect pension, once they c my age they pass by me. They won't even loom.my way! I need 2 work 2 pay rent,bills,etc

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Anne Beach and @Judith Q thanks for your comments. It does seem like a double standard when we have a 70 yr old President but can't find a job if we are over 50! All you can do is try to make yourself look as young as possible. Clean up your resume so that it's only showing about the past 10 years of work experience. Take dates off of your education and anything else that you can. Highlight the skills that the company is looking for and make sure that any obsolete skills are removed from your resume. Do not include a photo with your resume (many job seekers do this). In your cover letter, don't use any phrases like "back in the day", etc. Keep on the companies. Follow-up with them. Show them your interest. If you do get in for an interview and they ask you a question like 'What is your five-year plan?", don't say retirement! Think about how you will answer that question because it probably will be asked. If you can, try to update your skills and education while you are searching. Employers want to know that your skills are up to par. Try, if you can, to go through a recruiter. They can present you in the right light - probably better than we can present ourselves. Before your interview, check your appearance. Make sure that you look as young and vibrant as possible - within reason. Maintain your dignity at all times and keep on searching.

  • Judith Q.
    Judith Q.

    It seems to me that if older individuals are being elected to the highest office in the land, and are being regarded as the leader of the free world then who are these employers to say that being 65 is too old to be hired for much less complex jobs? Please!!!

  • Anne Beach
    Anne Beach

    I feel like I am truly being overlooked because of my age.

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