Looks matter. Age matters. That’s the double whammy: ageism and sexism. And women over 45 in the workplace today are victimized by this bias. Many of the women over 45 I have connected with on this topic are furious; angry that after decades of hard work and great performance, after juggling their career and family, and enduring unfair corporate politics, they’re becoming invisible. But most importantly, they’re fearful because they feel they have a target on their backs as they wait to get the dreaded pink slip.
But here is to all the women who have the talent to soar high in the sky. “Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”
Women over 50 are usually more confident and skilled in the workplace, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting the jobs that they deserve. In fact, there are some recruiters and hiring managers who are so certain about their decision not to hire older women that they don’t even bother to look at their qualifications and work experience, which leaves many women wondering what could possibly motivate such an irrational decision-making process?
There are many reasons that older people may be discriminated against in the workplace, including their age, gender, race, and disability status. If you are over 50 years old and have been denied employment because of your age, you may feel confused or insulted by the company’s decision to reject you based on your age alone. While the decision to deny you employment may seem harsh or unfair, if you have been denied a job because of your age there are steps you can take to protect yourself from further discrimination and potentially strengthen your case for getting rehired or offered another position with the company in the future.
Section 1 – So-called Disadvantages of Older Workers
It’s unfair but true. While hiring discrimination is technically illegal, older workers don’t always have an easy time landing a job—even though they may be more qualified than their younger counterparts. Employers might believe that older workers will be looking for other work as soon as possible. (More often than not, however, they’re not.) Employers also worry that older workers might be less tech-savvy or that they won’t fit in with younger co-workers.
Section 2 – The problem with Stereotypes
From a manager’s perspective: Stereotypes have no place in today’s society. A stereotype is defined as an oversimplified generalization about an entire group of people based on their sex or ethnic origin. For example, men are better suited for leadership roles than women. Well, as it turns out stereotypes don’t hold water in any capacity; whether we like it or not they usually affect how decisions are made when it comes to hiring new employees.
Section 3 – Tips To Overcome Age Discrimination
What’s your age? If you’re over 50, it might be too high for many employers. According to a 2012 report from The New York Times—and confirmed by my own anecdotal experiences—many employers discriminate against job applicants older than 40 or so. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find work: With these tips for women over 50 looking for work, you can overcome your age discrimination in job interviews and get hired.
Section 4 – Know your worth
If you’re looking for a job at age 50 or older, it might be tempting to take any opportunity that comes your way. But before rushing into anything, ask yourself: Is my current salary (or compensation package) really fair given my experience level and skillset? How much are other companies paying employees with similar skillsets in my city or industry? If your current pay rate is low compared with industry standards—or compared with what others make at your company—you may want to talk about getting a raise.
Section 5- Keep up with Tech skills
Although your experience may lead many employers to believe that you’re too old for a certain job, they won’t be so quick to say no when they see that you possess or can quickly learn new skills. From tech-savvy marketers and designers who have been laid off but still have the top-notch talent to retirees who need extra cash or a fun way to spend their time, it pays in all ways for women over 50 to keep up with tech skills.
Section 6 – Volunteer for Work that matters for you
If it’s difficult to find a job because of your age or lack of experience, consider volunteering for an organization that matches your skills. This will not only help build up your resume but will also give you more experience in an industry that interests you. Volunteering is a win-win! When looking for a volunteer position online be sure to use specific keywords like nonprofit and education so that potential employers can easily find your application.
Section 7 – Change your mindset about age in the workplace
Many women who have been in their careers for years feel that employers are biased against older women when hiring. They may feel like they’re being passed up for promotions and new opportunities. The truth is, no one wants to think about getting older—especially as we start hitting retirement age. But it’s important that these women know they can help themselves by changing their perception of how they fit into today’s workforce.
Section 8- Be Persistent
You might be tempted to take no for an answer, especially when it comes from someone like a recruiter who has been doing his or her job for years. It can be easier said than done but don’t give up—especially not after one rejection.
Women have always had a harder time finding work after they reach middle age. According to a report by Reuters, many employers consider women in their late forties and fifties too expensive because of mandatory retirement ages or medical issues like pregnancy or breast cancer. In fact, according to one survey, 27% of employers said that hiring older women would lead to higher health care costs.
It’s no secret that older workers have struggled in recent years to find employment. And while most of us would agree that it’s a good thing for older workers to retire before they reach their physical limits, there’s something deeply disturbing about a 65-year-old blue-collar worker living in poverty because he couldn’t get his old job back when he lost it and struggled to find new work due to age discrimination.
ADVICE FOR OLDER WOMEN
At certain times in life, we all feel out of place. The good news is that age discrimination is illegal, and there’s plenty you can do to fight it. Older job applicants need to be prepared and ready to present themselves as strong candidate for an open position. In addition, working with a recruiter who understands how to place mature candidates in positions at every stage of their career can increase your chances of landing a job you love—and getting paid what you deserve.
Employers consider your experience. You may have more experience than younger job candidates. But that doesn’t mean you have fewer skills or abilities. If you’re qualified for a position, be persistent and fight for your rights as an employee.