Pandemic Pushes Older Workers Out

While many employees are preparing to return to their pre-pandemic workplaces for at least part of their weekly schedule, many more older workers are leaving the labor force.  According to a recent Forbes report, the number of people over the age of 55 who are participating in the workforce is down by 2 million in the United States compared with pre-pandemic numbers. 

What’s worse for older adults now than following the 2008 recession is that experienced senior workers won’t be returning to their jobs. Although the most recent numbers show significant growth in the job market for workers under the age of 55, far fewer older employees are re-entering the workforce. 

Why are older workers pushed out despite their experiences and tenure?  If cost-cutting is the goal, seasoned employees generally make more money and it makes sense for companies to slash one big salary rather than lose several lower-paid workers.  With so much work being handled remotely, large companies are hiring younger workers who live in less expensive regions willing to take a lower salary. 

Technology is also a factor in the changing workplace, and employers are looking for more software and systems knowledge rather than many years of specific experience.  But these newer hiring strategies put many Baby Boomers who still want or need to work in difficult positions.  As older adults plan for an increasingly longer retirement, many don’t have sufficient savings to see them through the rest of their lives. 

Avoiding age bias for older job seekers:

  • Consider volunteering at a non-profit, start-up, or trade association that values experience.
  • Stay revenant by learning new skills and technologies.
  • Staying physically fit will help project an energetic and productive attitude.
  • Give career coaching a whirl – many colleges and libraries offer free workshops with coaches. 
  • Participate in networking meetings and grow your community.

For more tips and resources to help older workers find employment, follow this link to CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.