Older Workers Struggle to Find Jobs in Westchester and Beyond

In a job landscape constantly in flux, older workers are being left out of the hiring pool.

I recently received an email from someone I briefly worked with 10 years ago. We had been out of touch for so long that I completely forgot about him. The reason for his contact after a decade’s silence was not due to camaraderie but desperation — he was laid off from his job and was having no luck securing a new position, so he looked me up to see if I could offer him potential leads.

Hall
Photo by Jeffery Dryer

In concept, someone with my one-time acquaintance’s background and skill set would not need to seek help in landing a new position. However, he recently turned 60 and he felt his age was working against him in the job hunt.

He’s not alone. A recent survey of 2,000 Americans by Zety, an online resume-building platform, found 47% of respondents stated they were not given a job due to age discrimination, with 39% reporting they were passed on for an interview and 19% saying they were not allowed to apply for a position due to ageism.

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One of the great failures of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) movement has been the refusal to incorporate age into its focus. After all, one cannot have a workforce that is truly reflective of wider society if everyone is within the same age range. But DEI’s obsession with race, gender, and sexual orientation seems to carry significant favoritism to Gen Z and millennials — corporations highlighting their DEI policies tend to include photographs of people in their 20s or early 30s, rather than individuals in their late 50s or older.

Indeed, DEI has failed older women of all races. A recent AARP survey of 6,600 women aged 50 and older found 48% of respondents reporting job-related bias based on their age, with 70% of Black women and 60% of Latinas and Asian Americans in this age demographic declaring they’ve been on the receiving end of workplace discrimination.

But too many employers don’t see this as a problem. A recent ZipRecruiter survey of employers found 47% of respondents explaining their ageism was rooted in concerns about older workers’ tech skills, and 25% freely admitted they would rather hire a 30-year-old over a 60-year-old if both candidates were equally qualified.

DEI
Adobe Stock/ Naum

“One of the great failures of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) movement has been the refusal to incorporate age into its focus.”

Of course, age discrimination is against the law and there is empirical evidence that more older people are taking legal action to fight ageism. Still, it is a shame that companies would rather make dismal excuses to justify ageist behavior and choose to be sued by older persons rather than have them on the payroll.

And as for my job-hunting acquaintance, he landed a freelance gig — as of this writing, no company will hire him on a full-time basis.

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