Although staffing shortages and supply chain issues are still plaguing everything from retail sales and restaurants to construction and manufacturing, many workers over the age of 50 are still struggling to find employment. According to a recent USA Today report, only half of Americans are steadily employed throughout their 50 – and last year more than a quarter of workers between 55 and 59 were out of the workforce with no job from which to retire.
During COVID lockdowns, millions of older Americans lost their jobs, and even now with the high demand for workers, many older adults are having a hard time finding stable work and are forced into early retirement while inflation continues to rise. Physically demanding jobs can cause older workers to leave their workplace due to health problems, and many middle-aged employees are also family caregivers for elderly parents, grandchildren or disabled loved ones which pulls them away from paid work.
There is also the problem of ageism and a lack of investment in employee training and technologies to help maintain a stable workforce, boost productivity and reduce turnover rates. Helping older workers develop in-demand skills and get jobs that meet the needs of hirers is critical to funding social security benefits, supporting older adults aging in place, and preventing poverty in old age.
Programs like the collaboration between Google and AARP are helping older workers find and keep jobs by improving their technology and digital skills. However, seniors with less education may find it harder to adapt to changes in the workforce, are unable to work from home, and may still find it difficult to land steady employment. The non-profit, Skillup also provides training, career coaching and other resources to help workers find a better career in some of the fastest-growing industries. Many programs are free and take just a few months of online training to learn marketable skills.