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Mature Age Job Seekers – Beating the Bias

June 12, 2016 by · Comments Off on Mature Age Job Seekers – Beating the Bias
Filed under: General 

Australian business is starting to see the light when it comes to their hiring policies for mature aged employees, and the positive impact they can have on the workplace. A brief visit to main street shopping centre and you will begin to see a few more weathered faces at work than you would have seen a few years ago.

However, if you scratch below the surface, you begin to see this trend still has a long way to play out. A few older workers get hired into the senior ranks where experience and maturity are greatly valued, more older workers are now being hired at the lower end of the corporate scale into unskilled roles, however the numbers being hired into the mid tier ranks remains low.

This barbell approach to hiring mature workers at the top and bottom of an organisation reflects an ongoing bias that remains difficult to overcome. A company is a microcosm of society, and in a perfect world employers should (within reason) seek diversity in the workplace and value skill, experience and aptitude, regardless of age, race or gender.

Unfortunately, we live in a far from perfect world. When it comes to mature aged workers they tend to be penalised on two fronts. Often the first to be made redundant in uncertain economic times, this setback is then compounded when they are regularly overlooked for someone younger as they begin searching for a new job.

As a result of these two biases towards mature aged job seekers, once out of work, the journey back can often be long and arduous. This is reflected in RBA statistics which indicate long-term unemployment at approximately 40% for those aged 45-64, compared to about 25% for those aged between 25 and 44.

So what are the reasons employers provide for not hiring mature aged workers? Typically, reasons include being overqualified or over-experienced. Taken at face value being overqualified or experienced might not seem so bad, but when you hear the same reason trotted out time and again, it becomes less palatable.

Openly negative feedback from employers tend to include perceptions that mature aged workers are not as IT savvy, do not possess the latest skills, or are not as flexible as their younger counterparts. While these reasons may hold true in many instances, many of the older job seekers I speak to, believe these are often used as convenient excuses to exclude them.

Employer feedback that you are not likely to hear include concerns about health (and subsequent cost) or worse insecurity. There are many poor managers in the workplace that may be intimidated by the experience a mature applicant brings to the role. Rather than leveraging the knowledge and experience an older worker can bring to the workplace, the insecure hirer is concerned about the potential competition, and the presence of someone who may know more than they do.

Dealing with many of these preconceived concerns and fears remains an ongoing challenge for the mature aged job seeker. Perhaps the following facts should be mandatory reading for hiring managers. These facts debunk many of the concerns and myths that persist in the workplace relating to mature aged workers;

    • Mature aged workers can deliver cost savings to employers through increased retention rates. For example, workers over 55 are five times less likely to change jobs compared to workers aged 20-24, reducing both recruitment and training costs. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006)Labour Mobility Survey,
    • Mature workers can deliver an average net benefit of $1956 per year to their employer compared to other workers due to high retention rates, lower rates of absenteeism, decreased recruitment costs and greater return on investment.Business, Work and Ageing (2000) Profiting from Maturity: The Social and Economic Costs of Mature Age Unemployment
    • Australians are living longer and are healthier.2005 ABS survey found the proportion of Australians aged 55-64 reporting their health as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ was 75.5% – an increase of four per cent since 1995. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05
    • Mature workers were the least likely group to take days off due to their own illness or as a carer. In the two week period prior to the survey nearly half the number of mature workers had days off compared to workers aged 25-34. ibid
    • ABS data shows that Australians aged 55-64 are the fastest growing users of information technology. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Year Book Australia,
  • Australian Health Management which examined the daily work habits of 4000 employees found that workers aged 55 years and over performed at their best for approximately seven hours out of an eight-hour day-an achievement that other workers in the study were unable to match. Australian Health Management (2006), Baby boomers give employers a bang for their buck

While government has been doing its part to address mature aged unemployment through initiatives like DEEWR Experience+, the introduction of the Age Discrimination Act (2004) and appointment of an Age Discrimination Commissioner, it remains imperative that older job seekers directly address some of these age bias issues themselves if they are to enhance their prospects for employment.

Following are some helpful hints that mature aged workers can utilise to make themselves more appealing to employers and thus improve their chances of a speedy return to the workforce;

Government or Community Assistance– Take advantage of government or community based initiatives and assistance. There is a considerable amount of free information and assistance available, and I would strongly recommend looking into these resources. For example, the DEEWR “Experience+” initiative provides free career planning and advice for over 45’s until June 2016, along with an Assistance Program delivering refresher and basic training in IT and social media applications.

Value Proposition– Whether writing your resume or cover letter, or sitting in an interview, ensure the focus of discussion clearly remains on the value that you can bring to an organisation. Discuss how you can help, what you have done in the past and what you can deliver going forward. Outline how your experience might bring special insights and perspectives that other candidates may not possess.

Training– Undertake relevant training or up-skilling. Keeping ‘up to date’ is critical if you expect serious consideration for any position, especially if there is a technical element. The benefit will be that an employer will see that you have not fallen behind and therefore will not require retraining, along with any associated cost.

Resume– You will need a properly structured and well written resume to be considered for most roles. Use an appropriate resume style that is tailored to your strengths, skills and experience. Also ensure primary focus of your resume is on the last 5-10 years (include older information where pertinent). Think about getting assistance from a professional resume writer, whocan add significant value if you are looking to ‘get it right the first time’.

Age Bias – To counter potential impact of age bias, you will need to carefully address the following with any potential employer;

Health– Don’t hesitate to communicate your good health and fitness to potential employers at opportune moments. Inform them if you play sport, run, walk or go to the gym regularly. This should allay any potential concerns about health.

IT Savvy –Take every opportunity to indicate your IT capability. Whether it’s your ability to use specialised systems, the MS Office suite or even your use of Facebook or Twitter, this will highlight your ability to embrace new technology.

Adaptability – Highlight your adaptability in the workplace, providing actual examples where appropriate. If you don’t know something, indicate you are keen to learn (and not that you wouldn’t know where to start). Highlighting your adaptability will help to dispel concerns of rigidness and inflexibility.

Team Player –Communicating that you work well as part of a team is critical. It shows a willingness to take direction and work for the common good, and can present you as less threatening, especially if the hirer feels concerned by a mature more experienced candidate.

Be Positive –Though you need to be fully prepared to discuss negative issues, make every attempt to keep the discussion on a positive footing. Unless specifically requested, there is no need to volunteer information of a negative nature.

While industry is beginning to see the light when it comes to acceptance of mature aged workers, the pace of change remains slow. While providence is on the right side due to the ageing Australian population and the inevitable necessity to hire older workers, the fact remains that age discrimination is still entrenched in much current thinking.

As a result, dealing with age bias will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. However with the combination of positive government policy, changing attitudes and a proactive attitude to making oneself more appealing to employers (as outlined above), the situation is not without promise.

Honing your individual approach and message will take time and effort. To strike the right balance the mature job seeker will need to walk a fine line between sounding experienced, but not old, adaptable, but not inflexible and appear keen, not desperate. There is no magic formula for success except practice, perseverance and occasionally seeking help where necessary.

A.J. Bond, is the proprietor of Absolute Resume Writing Services ( http://absoluteresume.com.au ), an Australian based consultancy specializing in the provision of Resume and Cover Letter writing services.

Absolute Resume assists a broad range of job seekers to find their preferred roles, including mature aged job seekers, individuals out of work for a period of time and those made redundant.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7334746

Light Bulbs For Senior Citizens By Atte Aaltonen

April 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

Seeing the Light: Why Lighting Is Important for Senior  Citizens

As people age, they consider home improvements that will make their living  spaces both safer and more enjoyable. Some senior citizens choose to downgrade  to a smaller and easy-to-manage home, while others improve the safety of their  current household by making sure railings are tightly installed, rugs are put on  slippery floors and stairs are covered in soft carpet. One factor that is often  overlooked is the lighting throughout the home. While it may seem simple,  lighting is one of the most important features of the home, especially as people  get older.

According to SeniorJournal.com, senior citizens need three times the amount  of light than younger people do in order to see clearly. This is because the  lenses on the eye thicken and the pupils shrink, causing the eyes to react  slower to lighting conditions. Senior citizens with dementia also suffer from  additional eye impairment because they have a difficulty in distinguishing  objects from their backgrounds.

Not only is lighting necessary for senior citizens because of the effects of  aging, but they also need adequate lighting for safety. Senior citizens are at  an increased risk for slips and falls, so it’s important that they can see  clearly throughout the home.

Where Should Seniors Have Lighting?

It’s essential that every room has adequate lighting for both safety and  comfort, but there are certain areas that require careful attention. Make sure  that stairways and walkways have enough lighting, as these are some of the most  common places for slips and falls. Ideally, seniors should have a light switch  at both the top and bottom of the stairs so that they can switch the lights on  and off without being stuck in the dark. The lights should point toward the  stairs so that each step is well lit.

The kitchen is another room that needs adequate lighting, as this is where  seniors prepare all of their meals and handle appliances. Seniors must be able  to read the labels on food items, buttons on appliances and also be able to  handle cutting and chopping confidently. To increase lighting, consider  installing lights underneath cabinets. Other good choices include low-hanging  lights to go over a breakfast bar or recessed lighting in all corners of the  kitchen.

Another room that deserves attention is the family room or den, where  reading, watching television and relaxing is done. There is no need for seniors  to strain their eyes when engaging in their hobbies, so choose lighting that  will complement activities. For example, floor lamps that have 3-way bulbs are  ideal, since each bulb can be positioned differently, providing light from a  variety of angles.

Nightlights are also important to have throughout the home, especially  because seniors find themselves getting up during the night to use the washroom.  Consider the areas that are dark and often traveled through during the late  hours, such as hallways, stairs and bedrooms. Nightlights are easy to place in  both high and low outlets to provide sufficient lighting, at least until a  senior can reach the light switch.

What Types of Light Bulbs are Best for Seniors?

The standard and most basic type of light bulb is an incandescent bulb. What  makes an incandescent bulb a great option for seniors is that it is easy to  change, easy to keep clean and fits in standard lamps and fixtures. Because  incandescent bulbs contain no mercury or lead, they can be disposed of or  recycled with the regular trash.

Fluorescent light bulbs are another great option for seniors because they are  efficient, produce little heat and last up to 20,000 hours. A longer life means  seniors won’t have to change the bulbs as much. Fluorescent light bulbs do  contain mercury however, so it’s important to dispose of them properly.

Turning Light Bulbs On and Off with Ease

Light bulbs and fixtures aren’t the only important factors to consider;  seniors must also think about how their light bulbs will be turned on and off.  If possible, make sure that all light bulbs can be turned on using a light  switch so that the room is well lit upon entering or exiting. As an added  benefit, choose to install dimmers onto light switches so that the intensity of  the light can be altered using the switch.

Other great options are rocker switches, which are larger than standard  switches and can be turned on and off using an arm, elbow or even a cane. If  there are rooms where the lights are not hooked up to a light switch, clap-on  lights should be considered. These friendly alternatives make it easy for  seniors to gently clap their hands in order to activate light bulbs.

How to Safely Change a Light Bulb

Providing a senior citizen’s home with enough light is not only essential for  safety, but it also allows seniors more independence and confidence. Best of  all, once proper lighting is installed, seniors can maintain their light bulbs  and fixtures themselves. To change a light bulb is simple and requires no tools,  as long as the bulb is in a lamp or fixture that does not contain a glass  reflector. If a glass reflector is present, a small screwdriver can be used to  loosen the screws and remove the bulb.

1. Turn off the electricity and let the bulb cool for 5 minutes.  2. Hold  the base of the bulb firmly with one hand, while turning it counterclockwise  until it is released from the socket. 3. Insert the new light bulb into the  socket, making sure it fits snug. 4. Turn the light bulb in a clockwise  direction until is locked in. 5. Switch the electricity to “on” and make  sure that the bulb is working properly.

What to Look for When Choosing Light Fixtures

There may not be much that seniors can do about existing lighting, but if  updating fixtures or purchasing a new home, there are certain light fixtures to  consider. Look for ceiling fixtures that do not contain globes around them.  These need to be removed and cleaned often in order to maintain their look and  proper lighting. Not to mention, in order to reach these fixtures, seniors will  need a ladder or step stool, which only increases the risk of slips and  falls.

Floor lamps make great lighting options since they are easy to maintain.  Light bulbs can simply be swapped out and a cloth or paper towel can be used to  wipe down the bulbs and fixtures. Best of all, floors lamps are inexpensive, can  be matched to any décor and can be moved throughout the home.

Wall sconces are other great alternatives to ceiling lighting, especially in  stairwells and bathrooms. Wall sconces make it easy to change out light bulbs  and most models have openings on both the top and bottom. Sconces are easy to  clean, have decorative appeal and provide ample lighting, especially is awkward  places and corners.

Proper lighting is vital for the safety and independence of senior citizens.  Fortunately, senior centers and retirement homes have improved their standards  in regards to lighting, but it’s important that the homes of seniors are not  ignored. Take the time to consider new and updated light bulbs and fixtures, as  well as increasing the wattage where applicable. Ultimately, seniors will find  their homes more enjoyable and comfortable with these minor home  improvements.

Visit this site for information about fluorescent light bulbs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Atte_Aaltonen

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  • Senior Industry Network Group Events

    Monthly SING Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at our NEW location below:

    Desert Canyon - HealthSouth
    9175 W. Oquendo Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89148

    S.I.N.G. Agenda:
    - Coffee and bagels will be served
    - A time to show gratitude by thanking those who have sent you referrals
    - Announcements around the room
    - One minute commercials
    - Open Discussion on topics of Self Empowerment

    * When? The 1st Thursday of every month. Networking starts at: 8:00am | Meeting starts at: 8:30am

    * How Much? It’s free!