Older Americans (55 years plus) have historically often found themselves at disadvantage on the job market. Not only must older Americans contend with age related job discrimination, but they also have less time to wrangle with retirement related financial concerns. In addition, given that the U.S. boasts such a youth centric culture, elderly Americans often find it difficult to navigate the cultural mores of the modern workplace.
Experts in the field of work discrimination fear that more and more elderly Americans will find themselves out of work, out of place, and out of luck because of the increasing role that technology has been playing in shaping business processes. In the past five years, for instance, the world of e-commerce and social networking has exploded. YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace may seem unfamiliar to members of the so-called “Greatest Generation.” Technologies like Twitter, RSS, and Skype, moreover, may seem utterly foreign.
Even more discouraging is the fact that employers and clients seem to be leaning on these technologies and communication modes more and more. A “hot to trot” 34 year old boss at a telecom company may be loathe to even consider résumés of applicants who are older than 50 just because she may fear that they won’t possess an adequate understanding of the cultural business landscape.
To prevent age related job discrimination or harassment from impeding opportunities, older Americans would do well to become at least proficient in relevant technologies. At risk individuals should also study up on their rights as employees and be prepared to strike back against overt discrimination or violations of equal opportunity laws.