We’ve often spoken of the amazing work ethic and resolve of the average boomer professional. As a generation, their desire to keep working later in life has changed modern perceptions of retirement. Unfortunately, that does not always guarantee they will have an easy time staying in the workforce.
While many studies and reports have concluded that boomer workers are beneficial to companies and to the aging workforce in general, there are still a fair number of people that share a prejudiced view of older workers and thus refuse to hire them. These stereotypes are over-generalizations and unfair, yet they still persist in the employment sphere. But by identifying the roadblocks they face, boomers can more easily move around them and continue on their path to an ideal career.
They’re not tech savvy.
This is one that will just not go away and, forgive me, there is some reason behind why some employers may feel this way. The fact of the matter is that boomers didn’t even have computers growing up and in today’s workplace, the technology and software being used is constantly advancing. Employers think boomers cannot keep up with the times. There may even be some truth to the fact that tech savviness doesn’t come as easily to boomers as it does to the younger generations, but that doesn’t mean boomers won’t work that much harder to master the relevant technology that qualifies them for the job.
In your own job search path, stay on top of the current technology. Research the software that is being used in your ideal job and take it upon yourself to learn it forwards and backwards. Coming to a job interview with proficiency in industry tech is a real asset and shows you can learn.
They’re too stuck-in-their ways.
Stubbornness is often-attributed trait to boomers. The perception is that they still look back on the good ol’ days and lament any changes they need to make to their way of doing things. When confronted with a new idea or alternative take, they plant their feet and refuse to move which can grind work to a halt. I’m sure if we all really considered it we could come up with a few names of people who act like this, but we also know that it isn’t an age-related trait. You’ll find stubborn coworkers in any profession and at any age. All you need to do is show your openness to collaboration. Cite specific instances in which you excelled at team work. If you don’t have any good examples, then go out and create some.
They’re not in it for the long haul.
You’d think the termination of the standard retirement age would clue employers into the fact that boomers aren’t in a hurry to retire. Alas, many employers look at boomers applicants as professionals looking to get a few more years of salary and benefits before walking away from the work for good. But boomers are workers and enjoy being professionals. Sure, they may want a better work-life balance, but beggars can’t be choosers, and job seekers can’t expect employers to have a more enlightened view on the 9-to-5 tradition. Still, you can show your enthusiasm for the job by offering long-term plans for what you might want to accomplish as an employee. Show them you have a vested interest in the position and you’ve put thought into your future at the company.
They’re too expensive.
Likely any employer would at least admit to the obvious benefit to having a boomer employee; they have the experience. Employers know when they hire a boomer for a job they are hiring someone who will hit the ground running and someone who possesses the necessary skills and knowledge for the job. They also assume that experience comes at a cost and might opt to spend less on a new hire who needs training. An easy solution here is to make yourself affordable. Be flexible with your salary. Now, that doesn’t mean you should accept less than you are worth, but understand that if a job feels like the right fit, some sacrifices must be made.