Key Takeaways:

Globally the number of over 50s in the workplace varies, but a unifying trend is that those numbers are growing. According to an AARP report from 2020, in the U.S. well over a third (37.3%) of the essential workforce are aged 50 and older, performing jobs that are necessary to critical infrastructure operations and these same stats are mirrored globally. That is quite an attribution to our global economy.

As we all know, older adults are not a homogeneous group. People are working longer into later life for several reasons. Including:

  • Better health and longer life expectancy than previous generations
  • For purpose - to follow their passions and retain a sense of purpose
  • Better education, increasing the likelihood of staying in the labor force
  • Changes to benefits and retirement plans that create incentives to keep working
  • Simply not being able to afford to stop working and keep up with the demanding costs of living

Debunking age discrimination

However, getting or keeping a job at 50+ isn’t as easy as it should be. We need to reframe the issue of age discrimination in the workforce. Research, carried out in January 2019, found that more than a third (37 percent) of employees aged 60-64 believe there is age discrimination in their workplace.

There is still an opinion that older people are less technically able and are slower workers. However, this isn’t the experience people are actually witnessing if you speak to businesses that employ older workers. Older workers generally are skilled, have more experience, are more reliable, and have a stronger work ethic. They stay in positions longer and take fewer days off. Older workers provide customers with consistency and personal attention, and most importantly they can learn and adapt to new technologies.

There is a national labor shortage, and employers can benefit by filling more open positions with older adults.

By 2030 one in four workers, in the U.S., are predicted to be over the age of 54. Meaning over a quarter of the workforce (over 50) will actively contribute to our economic progression. In the UK, workers over the age of 65 contributed six times more to their economy in a year, than was spent by local authorities on social care. Perception has commonly been that older adults are taking more out of the economy than they’re putting in, but these figures suggest they are a major financial contributor to society.

Overcoming barriers to working after retirement

Another hurdle is the need for training on modern technology and apps, that are now commonplace in work. The tech challenges of starting a new career or joining a new company can be intimidating. Today's older adults didn’t grow up with smartphones and laptops as an extension of their being. Many need reskilling, but that doesn’t mean people can’t learn or are unwilling to learn.

More and more organizations are making ‘place’ irrelevant and that means extra significance is put on our devices to provide a novel and flexible way of working and communicating with employees. This is an adjustment for much of the global workforce over the last few years, not an exclusive issue for our older generation.

Besides facing ageism, there’s also managing health conditions and balancing caregiving responsibilities with work that could be potential barriers to new jobs. Many older adults require a more flexible schedule to assure that they can take care of not only their own health but their loved ones.

How does GetSetUp fit in?

GetSetUp helps educate older adults (on a huge range of subjects) in real-time, allowing the Learners to ask questions as they come up.

There is a focus on upskilling to offer the Learners more opportunities in the job market and support them with confidence in applying for jobs that they are already more than qualified for. GetSetUp runs multiple classes on Google programs, email management, getting the most out of your device, developing your assertiveness, managing your affairs, and public speaking, which help our Learners find solutions to confidence and knowledge gaps at work.

GetSetUp conducted a 2022 Job Skills survey with 181 Learners. Our survey showed that we helped learners gather transferable career skills in four main areas:

  • Professional and Technical Skills related to email management, new software apps, computers/technology, and marketing skills among a few.
  • Confidence to speak in public, use second or third languages, and communicate effectively. Most importantly, learners gained the confidence to express their opinion publicly and a sense of self-worth that their opinion is valuable.
  • Personal Skills related to improved memory, goal setting, and virtual networking with a diverse community.
  • Health and Well-being support around stress management, mindfulness, eating healthy, and fitness so they can show up to their next position feeling well holistically.

For those looking to work beyond retirement, GetSetUp classes and resources are available to help empower them to find their next role.

The real-life experiences

The impacts of lifelong learning are all positive, opening doors to finding a sense of purpose and career opportunities. It encourages us to improve our quality of life and sense of self-worth by paying attention to the ideas that inspire us.

MaryBeth, a registered dietitian, gained confidence and felt supported by GetSetUp when her organization changed its email systems. “I took a Gmail class as my company had just moved over to Gmail, and it armed me with the skills to utilize that system to its fullest potential. GetSetUp is an amazing resource, where you learn about all the capabilities to make a day job so much easier.  I also took the Google Docs class. I have a lot of document sharing in my role, and I was frustrated when others couldn’t open the documents I sent, but this class is incredibly accessible. Trying to learn on my own was hard, but now I feel totally proficient.”

Randy has always been in the telecommunications industry and admits that he still has a lot to keep up with, regarding emerging technologies, but GetSetUp Guides make it accessible and inspirational, “I’m gaining transferable skills I can use in my job. Putting my phone screen as a picture-in-picture is something I can do now. One of the tech Guides, Kevin Miller, does an excellent job presenting his content. He also encourages his learners to set goals and achieve them. It’s very inspirational. They encourage me to participate. If I know something, I’m welcome to share it. Vicky Soll knows her stuff on Zoom too. I’ve learned so much from her. I haven’t had a bad instructor yet.”

Diane retired at the same time as we went into our first Lockdown in early 2020, this hit her confidence badly. She just started staying home and napping a lot. She says finding GetSetUp has made her realize what she’s capable of. After taking some Zoom and other technical classes, Diane felt her technical abilities were strong enough to become a Community Host. After just two months of being part of the GetSetUp community, she proposed teaching a class.

“Being comfortable with the programs I’d need to use was essential, and once I knew how to run those things capably, I didn’t have any other barriers to starting a class - except my self-confidence. With some coaching, I did my preparation, and it’s been great fun. …I now better understand the value I have to add to society. I’ve published work in the past and sold stories, and maybe I can go back to doing some of that.”

How can GetSetUp help with global economic progression?

There are multiple ways that going back to work or volunteering helps keep our older population healthy. From having a purpose to better brain health, work can generate happier, healthier, and more fulfilled individuals. GetSetUp classes build confidence and motivation, educate on the importance of good interview preparation and assist with building resumes and LinkedIn presence. Classes teach the latest technologies, including getting set up with new devices and systems.

At GetSetUp, we try to practice what we preach. Since Jan. 2021, we have invested $1.1M in creators who are over 50 as they share knowledge on our platform. We offer a flexible work schedule for our older employees who work part-time to ensure they have a steady income and can enjoy this stage in their lives. We offer activities with purpose and health benefits to help offset the caregiving burden.

Judy is our Director of Guides and Creators and has been with GetSetUp since conception. Her role has evolved and she now works on building, mentoring, and leading a world-class team of GetSetUp Guides. Judy passionately believes in GetSetUp’s product, classes, and approach. She says,

“GetSetUp is an exciting company as we satisfy two needs. We provide economic opportunities to older adults teaching as Guides and other functions. At the same time the Guides are providing great online learning experiences for our Community. It’s a win for the Guides providing the service and for those learning from the Guide’s knowledge.”

By reducing the digital divide we help support our learners who may be interested in applying for some of the 10 million jobs currently available. Through reskilling and upskilling, GetSetUp is wholeheartedly supporting our global economic progression.

Feb 8, 2022
Business & Jobs
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