Older workers are hired, but for a much lower salary. How to increase your earning potential

As 2021 begins, Indeed Hiring Lab reports that the US job market has regained more than half of the jobs lost during the pandemic. That’s great. Still, if you’re a job seeker over the age of 55, finding work (especially jobs and well-paying jobs) is still a challenge.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, workers 55 and older face higher levels of unemployment than mid-career workers, according to the October 2020 “State of Older Workers Report” from the Schwartz Center for New School Economic Policy Analysis. Older workers who are black, female, or do not have a college degree are experiencing even higher rates of job loss. And when seasoned workers find work these days, they often end up earning less than their previous jobs, precisely at the point where they expected to be at maximum earning potential. A New Job at 1/3 His Old Salary Mike Kohler, 68, struggled to find a job six years ago after a long career in public affairs and government relations. “My resume was stellar and I thought it would be enough,” he says. “However, I was perceived as overqualified.” Finally, after moving from Kansas City to Colorado and a casual conversation, Kohler landed a job as a leadership training and workforce development coordinator at the Larimer County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, at 1 / 3 of your previous salary. Look: What happens if I file for bankruptcy? Kohler says the compensation of less pay and less responsibility works for him. “I used to have big budgets and a lot of staff,” he says, “but now I don’t want or need that. My job and lifestyle fit perfectly with my current life. ”However, Kohler knows from her work with the Age Place Friendly Workplace Initiative, a Colorado-based group that promotes intergenerational and age-friendly workplaces, that many other people their age are not so lucky. “There are a lot of people who need to keep working,” he says. “Unfortunately, some of the best people are overlooked because of false assumptions employers make about experienced candidates What Older Job Seekers Saw in the 2007-09 Recession Those assumptions range from believing that older applicants lack the skills and motivation to do the job to expecting applicants to demand a salary equal to or greater than their Previous Positions The phenomenon of the unemployed in their 50s and 60s who are hired for less than they earned at their last job is not new. During the 2007-2009 recession and beyond, 50-year-old unemployed workers who were rehired earned 21% less in their new jobs than in their pre-layoff jobs, on average, according to the Urban Institute. The harsh truth is that during periods of high unemployment, like today, a new job might not pay what it used to earn. Therefore, it is best to be realistic about your options and not let your ego get in the way of accepting a position. Be open, too, to government and nonprofit jobs, even if they pay less than corporate ones. Related: How To Get A Job In 2021 If You’re Over 50 There are a few steps to increasing your hiring skills and hopefully increasing your purchasing power in the process. For advice, I turned to workplace experts Brandi Frattini, Talent Acquisition Team Leader at CareerBuilder, and Jeff Schwartz, Founding Partner of Deloitte Consulting’s Future of Work and author of the new book “Interrupted Work: Opportunity, resilience and growth in the fast-paced future of work. ”Three Tips on Pay for Job Seekers Here are his top three tips: 1. Enable. Regardless of their age, job applicants will need to acquire skills applicable to the future of work. Frattini cited data from a recent CareerBuilder study that found that 44% of respondents ages 55 to 65 said they learned a new skill in 2020 in hopes of positioning themselves for their next position. Older workers who want to increase their earning potential need to update their skills on a regular basis. 2. Look for opportunities that take advantage of your transferable skills, not just jobs that align with your previous experience and job titles. Frattini recommends researching and exploring areas that you may not have considered but could put your talents to work. For example, a former retail sales associate with customer service, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills could transfer to another role that requires these skills, such as an online customer service representative in a high-demand industry like customer care. medical. 3. Learn how to promote yourself as a freelancer. The self-employment economy, where the self-employed take on project work or shift work, is here to stay. Schwartz predicts that while some companies will hesitate to hire full-time workers after the pandemic, most will continue to rely on self-employed workers. While you may not receive benefits as a self-employed person, you may be earning an hourly rate close to what you were earning before. But Schwartz says that to be a successful freelancer, you must learn to actively market your skills – a very different experience than a traditional employee. Since most gig workers navigate between departments, projects, and managers, it helps develop a network of colleagues who can provide support and advice. So, at the beginning of a concert, ask the project or assignment leader what the successful completion of the assignment or job would look like. Find out if they have suggestions about the culture and values ​​of the company or project that can help you be a successful and sought-after contributor there. See also: Are you worried about retirement? Jump through ‘one of the darkest rabbit holes’ and you’ll find plenty of company. Finally, if you find work in a company or organization that you like, let them know that you are interested in working more with them. That could lead to an ongoing project portfolio, and maybe even a full-time position. Nancy Collamer, MS, is a semi-retirement coach, speaker, and author of “Second Act Careers: More Than 50 Ways To Profit From Your Passions During Semi-retirement.” You can now download his free workbook, “25 Ways to Help You Identify Your Ideal Second Act” from his website at MyLifestyleCareer.com (and you will also receive his free bi-monthly newsletter). This article has been reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved. More from Next Avenue: