How to Help Third Age Job Seekers Find Work
What is the Third Age? Google that question and you’ll get many hits. Generally, it is defined as the period of life between ages 55 to 80. It is a period when many people leave their working life behind and “follow their bliss”; doing whatever makes them feel happy and fulfilled. However, there are many Third-Agers who deliberately choose to continue formal employment due to financial necessity or perhaps because it provides self-fulfillment. If “older” people embark on the path of trying to land a new job, they can face special challenges. Many will seek out career professionals to guide them and we should be aware of the needs of Third Age job seekers in order to help them find work.
Back in the spring of 2016, I wrote a post for the CPC News Feed titled Interview with a Third Age Job Seeker. I knew someone in her early 60s who was really struggling to find work and that’s what inspired the idea for the post.
The post attracted more interest and commentary than I’d anticipated and I learned that there were many people out there with similar stories to tell.
Barriers Faced by Third Age Clients
During a Canada Career Month online chat a few years ago, a group of talented career practitioners identified some of the barriers that Third Age job seekers are likely to face:
“They may not be current on technology.” – Daniela Tedesco-Stranges
“They often have weak networks since most of their peers are retired.” – Giselle Mazurat
“They have less exposure to the gig economy and the job search strategies needed for it.” – Adrienne Tom
“They don’t know their value, or are too humble to be able to express it well.” – Sharon Graham
“The educational requirements stated in job postings may be lacking.” – Skye Berry
“Third Age workers may not see their skill set as something that is current as they have been in such routines for so long. Getting them to recognize their transferable skills is difficult and they tend to feel inadequate when they are up against younger generations.” – Julia Perryman
“Hiring managers may feel that the older worker has more experience and could potentially be after their job.” – Elaine Piper
How Career Pros Can Help Third Age Job Seekers Find Work
- Coach clients to focus on what they bring to the table, not what they lack.
- Empower them to take control of their career journey.
- Discuss strategies for combating ageism if it becomes an issue in the job search.
- Help them to understand the labour market and how to market themselves.
- Encourage them to consider freelance or contract work.
- Allow them to explore possibilities through journaling, colouring, storytelling, or visioning exercises.
- Conduct job search coaching sessions involving both younger and older clients, as they face similar issues, and can learn from each other.
- Jane Fonda: Life’s Third Act (TED Talk)
- Statistics Canada Study – Occupations With Older Workers
- The rise of the older worker – and age-discrimination lawsuits
- Baby Boomers are staying in the labor force at rates not seen in prior generations.
- Silver Tsunami (starts on page 18 of The York University Magazine)
- The Case for Hiring Older Workers
- Job Search Strategies for Older Workers
- Boomers are Still Influencing the World of Work
If you’d like to strengthen or validate your skills in job search and career transition strategies, consider earning your Certified Employment Strategist (CES) credential through Career Professionals of Canada. The CES credential is a great way to enhance your credibility as a career transition professional.
Cathy Milton, after a long career in the telecommunications industry, embarked on the path to becoming a résumé writer. She has been a member of CPC for 10 years now, and has earned the MCRS, MCIS, MCCS, MCES, and MCWS designations. Cathy is an advisor for CPC and the association’s Communications Manager. She is an avid sailer, a fairly decent cook, and active “pack member” in her pet menagerie.