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Coaching Over-40 Clients, 1 of 3: Ageism Realities

By Barb Poole, CMRW, PHR, CCMC, CPRW, BS

Over the past year, I have experienced a significant increase in baby boomer clients seeking career exploration and management assistance in scenarios ranging from involuntary terminations to voluntary career redirection and/or downsizing. The “boom” in baby boomer clients doesn’t surprise me, based on a few “wake-up-call” facts:

  • There will soon be 77 million workers over age 50 and only 44 million in the generation that follows. The current social security system is not set up to handle this change, and will demand drastic changes in order to continue.
  • While organizations increase their efforts to compete globally, they will do whatever it takes to remain profitable. Employees have been identified as the single largest variable cost employers have control over. Older workers seem to be the greatest recipient of this emerging trend of lay-offs and unplanned retirement. Long gone are the “gold watch” days, where an employee’s dedication, loyalty and hard work translated to post-retirement family care giving by the “the company.”
  • In a joint study done by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), it was discovered that 65% of current employers do not actively recruit older workers. To maximize the coaching experience, we as coaches should be prepared to address the realities with our clients. As Dr. Phil says, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” There is another adage that applies and that is, “knowledge is power.”

Exactly, Who is the Baby Boomer or “Older Worker”?


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