Are You Being “Aged” Out Of The Workforce?
There is a new buzzword in the economic vocabulary you need to be aware of. That new word is “deskilled.” It’s a fancy new word but the simple meaning is, “Thanks very much for your service but we are replacing you with automation.”
According to the job-search site, CareerBuilder, 20 percent of companies with less than 500 employees have “deskilled” workers and 30% for larger firms.
Older Workers Are On The Block
No matter what the industry, there is a perceived trend, intended or not, to phase out older, higher paid workers. They will be replaced with lower paid, younger workers, who may not have as much experience, but are still capable of doing the job at an acceptable level.
The Danger Zone
Over the next decade, over 300,000 baby boomers are going to retire each day and employers know it. The danger zone for many employees is that 15-year time span between age 50 and retirement age at 65. One in five American workers fall into this gap. One and half million people over the age of 55 were unemployed as of January of this year.
If you are terminated during that 50-65 period you will spend a lot of time going on unsuccessful interviews.
You Can See It Coming
It's not hard to spot when the end is near. Your performance reviews start to slip. Things others get away with as normal are brought down hard on you. Your sales territory might be altered to reduce your sales, or your quotas are unrealistic or in some cases impossible.
You’re excluded from meetings you used to attend. Less qualified workers might head up projects you should be doing. Most workers can see it coming.
Say Good-Bye to High Pay
You will clean out your desk, pack up all your degrees, awards, outstanding performance reviews, and accolades from your co-workers along with your tons of experience and go looking.
No to worry, all those things will all be taken into serious consideration for your new position as either, a greeter at Walmart, or hamburger flipper at McDonalds.
In essence, after a certain age, you are not the first choice but in most instances you’re the last choice. If you get 60 percent of what you were making consider yourself lucky.
You Do Have Some Recourse
In 1997, 15,785 age discrimination suits were filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. Last year that figure reached 21,396. Bringing a discrimination lawsuit to trial is not cheap and in many cases even harder to prove.
To familiarize yourself with workers rights go to www.workplacefairness.org.
Find out if you are eligible for Unemployment Compensation.
Some Final Thoughts
I don’t want to paint all companies with a broad discrimination brush. Most companies appreciate all their workers and do value experience and are happy to provide retirement benefits, profit sharing, and pension plans.
If you are a younger worker please heed this advice. You need at least a six-month back up of your current pay for a backup. Let it grow and earn interest. If you do find yourself on the outside looking in at least some of the pain will be nullified. Always prepare for the unexpected.