Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Job Seekers over 50 Should Be Open to New Possibilities

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Job Seekers over 50 Should Be Open to New Possibilities

Article excerpt

For entry-level and mid-career job seekers, the search process can be a shot at a new beginning at its best and an exercise in frustration at its worst. But for individuals over 50, diving back into a market that favors grooming young professionals over matching lifetime earnings of industry veterans can be so daunting that many give up on their former careers entirely.

"When the recession hit in 2007 and 2008, companies really started trying to limit their costs and a lot of people in their 50s and 60s were laid off. And unless they have special skills that no one else in their industry has, it becomes more difficult to find another job," said Blake Nations, Atlanta-based founder and CEO of Over50jobboard.com.

The 59-year-old former corporate recruiting specialist speaks from experience.

When Mr. Nations was laid off in January 2014, he hit so many walls during the job search he ended up taking a position at a grocery store on the weekends to make ends meet. While there, he ran into others his age who had been laid off from professional positions and had to take the first job that came along in order to pay the bills.

"When you look on the job boards, a lot of [companies] say they want someone with five to 15 years of experience. Basically they're looking for folks that are 25 to 40 years old and that's the legal way of saying it," he said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that in 2007, workers over 50 earned $605 per week, notably less than median earnings of $695 per week for all workers. Despite the pay gap, the bureau predicts workforce participation by those ages 55 to 64 will jump 36.5 percent between 2006 and 2016. The number of workers ages 65 to 74 is expected to spike by 80 percent during the same period.

In June, Mr. Nations launched Over50jobboard.com. He used a database of positions advertised through AARP and reached out to companies that he recalled from his recruiting days as being open to hiring more mature workers. …

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