What’s a Legacy Career®? Let’s go beyond the buzzword and dig into career considerations for the 50+ workforce, from both the employee and employer sides of the table.
Have you ever wondered how we decide on the ‘retirement age’?
Every time we deliver a keynote, this question, and its answer, produce ‘aha’ moments for countless people in the room. The retirement age was set in the 1930s, when life expectancy was 62 years. Today, life expectancy reaches into the mid-80s. It’s only natural that we see more and more employees choosing to work past the traditional retirement age. What’s more, we know many employees are worried about finances and need to continue earning income for longer than they expected or would choose for themselves.
Career timelines are changing
Like new graduates, stereotypes, age-based assumptions, and ageist language dominate how “older workers” are considered. Ageism in hiring practices is common, although we believe it to be unintentional in most cases. Simply put, none of us are conditioned to consider our 60s and 70s as some of our most productive years. But career timelines are changing and employers need to be aware that there are carrots (productivity gains, employee retention gains) and sticks (legal action, bad reputation) associated with outdated careers thinking.
Our interviews with employers and HR leaders have shown that sometimes they may feel awkward or find it difficult providing career support to employees who are older than them. Remember that an important part of this responsibility is to:
- listen and learn during career conversations,
- ensure employees remain engaged in their work, for both their personal career satisfaction and for organizational success; and,
- foster a workplace in which they are valued and respected.
As a manager, you don’t need to have all the answers. But showing all your employees—regardless of age—that you are there for them can go a long way to giving them a sense of safety, connectivity, and purpose.
Consider how your organization is taking advantage of Legacy Career® talent. Check out author and activist Ashton Applewhite’s book, This Chair Rocks, and her blog “Yo, Is this Ageist?” She provides free resources and current examples of how ageism affects everyone, every day. For workplace-specific questions, Challenge Factory is a North American leader in helping organizations capitalize on shifting demographics. Reach out to us anytime.
Excerpted from Challenge Factory’s Retain & Gain series of career management playbooks.