As you become “more experienced” in your professional career, hiring managers are becoming more reluctant of hiring you. Why? Despite being well qualified for the position, It’s hard to get past the fact that they fear you may be “too old.” It can be a tough hurdle to overcome, as for the most part, those without a job have become unemployed by circumstances out of their control. Although there are age discrimination laws in place to protect you in such situations, when you look at the other candidates who are receiving job offers over you, its hard to se past the fact they are not hiring you based upon your age. This can be a tough pill to swallow. Your wealth of experience going unwanted for someone who is less qualified, less experienced, but younger is an unfortunate turnaround in societal and organisational priorities. You have to admit, age is a fickle reasoning for hiring managers to base their employment on. Ultimately the so called ‘reasoning’s’ are moreso ‘excuses’ such as: fears of you potentially retiring in the coming years, uncertainty to how well you deal with the technological advancements of today, higher pay expectations and production rates (Some may seem daft, but these myths exist). Sometimes the best solution is to take the power out of the hands of employers and take charge of your own career. Below is a list of career options that older executives should consider (both employed or unemployed) to help in staying employed for as long as you see fit.
One of the best avenues for an older executive are those roles with a short life span and quick turnover. Interim Management has roles created to fill short to medium term gaps, taking on specific strategic and transformational roles, perfect for an executive who has been at the top for some time. Long-term, it is a viable option, and working for yourself means you will never be ‘made’ redundant, although the onus of finding employment opportunities does rely on you. Interim Managers tend to work in a certain field of expertise, so you will most likely be advising within that industry you have made a name for yourself in, so already have numerous contacts to get your interim management career started. If you need more help starting your own Interim management firm, we have solutions and mentors to help you get off the ground. Alternatively, you can check out our interim management articles here.
Become an Advisor/Consultant
Although similar to being an interim manager in a way, the difference is you can offer advice more in your specific field to smaller organisations, as opposed to addressing larger organisational change within that sector. It offers all of the benefits of an interim manager, however, it will take a while to set it up and obtain a steady flow of customers, which you must bear in mind.
Becoming a member of the board is an enticing solution, particularly if you wish to remain in the thick of the company’s operations and strategic decisions. It will take a little bit more preparation than any of the examples mentioned today, as prior board experience is usually mandatory. The best way to gain a seat on a board is to network and indicate your interest early on in your career. Try to gain experience either on your own board (a lot of the times this is not permitted), non-profits and network with other board members so when the time arises, you are adequately qualified for this advisory role (for more information on this, click here). Board roles are more advisory type roles, so fears of having to learn new software/technology are irrelevant.
It presents itself a perfect fit, with an attractive pay packet as well.
Become a Professor at a University
Particularly in the Middle East, the number of universities that are opening are increasing dramatically. This means the need for professors are increasing also and although some universities are stricter in the acceptance of certain professors (some require a Ph.D.) some take into your working experience into account.
Join a Non-Profit
As mentioned earlier, joining a non-profit can be a great way to not only help you springboard onto a corporate board, but keep you engaged at the same level of an organisation than you were before. If you are currently without a job, filling this unemployment gap by joining a non-profit can be a great way to continue your working experience whilst looking for other jobs/opportunities.
Probably a new option to many, mentoring’s prominence has come to the fore in recent years. With more companies investing in mentoring programs, there exists an opportunity to become a mentor and establish yourself as one of the best mentors out there. If you feel like you have more value adding contributions to give, why not do it vicariously through someone else, advising them the best way forward. Mentoring options can be discovered here; expertise.tv.
Often older workers need to adjust their expectations and consider positions outside their area of expertise. Sometimes this means accepting a salary cut, but it can also mean taking a job that is less prominent than your previous one. A former chief financial officer for a technology firm, for example, may need to consider a role as an operations research analyst within the retail industry if they hope to quickly get back to work. Although not ideal, it is a realistic approach and something that can be looked at optimistically as taking one step forward and two steps back. Why not plant some seeds with board members whilst you do this? Do you feel cheated by some employers because this scenario has happened to you? Leave us a comment below or get in touch with us to see how we can activate your job hunt today!