Photo courtesy of San Diego Workforce Partnership

Workers 55 and older face structural barriers to workforce entry or reentry based on age, gender and race, according to a San Diego Workforce Partnership report released Monday.

“Discarding Ageism to Harness the Experience of Older Workers” includes recommendations intended to help the San Diego business community develop community-focused solutions by expanding hiring practices and talent pool searches to harness the experience and untapped potential of older workers.

In San Diego, workers 55 and older represent nearly 20% of the region’s workforce across all sectors. According to the employment-focused nonprofit, a multi-generational workforce strengthens the region’s economy and creates a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Skills that older workers bring to the workforce and business community include dependability, resourcefulness and communication, according to the report.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership launched a pilot program in partnership with the Sahm Family Foundation and the California Workforce Development Board to provide older workers with tools, resources and clear pathways to success. Workers and employers can find out about the program at https://workforce.org/return/.

In its report, the partnership offers tips to employers, including:

  • assess and remove age bias from job descriptions. Assumptions by hiring managers about age, salary expectations, skills and qualifications can result in biased job postings that can discourage older job seekers or even come into conflict with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act;
  • participate in age-building hiring practices. Job applicants aged 40 and above begin to experience age discrimination at the point where their age becomes apparent to the employer. When submitted online, older applicants were selected for job interviews “at equal or higher rates to younger applicants” when their age was unknown;
  • train recruiters and hiring managers not to discriminate by age; and
  • provide flexible scheduling, when possible, to account for older workers who serve as caregivers.

For older workers, the partnership also offers some advice:

  • while employed, invest in employability. Seek training on transferrable skills, find challenging, visible assignments, network outside of an organization and set boundaries but leave room to be flexible;
  • if you lose your job, reach out for help immediately. When older workers are laid off, their employment prospects and earnings recovery are significantly higher if they return to work within the first quarter after losing a job. Call 619-319-9675 or go to workforce.org/jobseekers for support on the pathway back to employment;
  • have clear expectations. Older workers who have enjoyed years of pay raises may need to be willing to take pay cuts; and
  • don’t help employers guess your age. On your resume, remove dates of degrees and remove older work experience if it is less relevant.

— City News Service

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