The recent Revera Report on Ageism clearly outlines that ageism in society and the workplace is alive and well. In fact, according to the report, it is “the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada.”
It is regrettable that some companies have adopted informal practices to ignore the potential of the 50+ talent pool. Others are interested in how the 50+ workforce could be better engaged and more productive within their company, but interpret low employee morale as disinterest in contributing.
If you are currently in or nearing your 60s you are on the leading edge of social change that will see our reasonable expectations of “working life expectancy” catch up with our actual life expectancy. When 65 was set as the retirement age in 1935, life expectancy was 61. Now, life expectancy is 82 and yet, our views on work and contribution are frozen in time.
Companies that are stuck in the past when it comes to talent should in no way pose a limit on your future. It may be time to think about all of the other sectors and businesses around you, or perhaps it’s time to start a small business of your own.
In Ontario and throughout Canada, the majority of the population is employed within the small and medium sized business sector, and recent patterns within these businesses indicate a preference for experienced resources. These companies are hiring people in their 40s, 50s and beyond specifically for the expertise and loyalty they bring to the organization.
Whether it is by starting a business, if that’s an appropriate next step for you, or by joining a company that is looking for your type of expertise, I am reminded of advice I received as a child from my mother: You don’t have to like everyone, and not everyone has to like you.
If certain companies have decided that the 50+ workforce isn’t yet a target employee group, don’t fret. Move on to the others that value the contribution you will make. Those companies will come around when competitors gain from the significant talent advantage that result in smart, strategic Legacy Career programs.
Lisa Taylor is the President of Toronto-based Challenge Factory, the only company in Canada where you can test-drive your next career. Challenge Factory provides individuals and companies with innovative talent and career programs targeting new graduates, mid-career professionals and Boomers seeking Legacy Careerstm. With clients across the country, Lisa is often called upon to speak and write about topics related to career transition, employment trends and workplace demographics.