Baby boomers start 'encore' careers

By Rodney Brooks

“Of 76 million people above 50 and nearing retirement, about half have interest in entrepreneurship,” said Jean Setzfand, vice president of financial security at AARP. “And many want to give back to their communities.”

Sitting at home through a 20- or 30-year retirement is no longer an option for an increasing number of baby boomers.

Some are looking to do something else because they have to for financial reasons. But, increasingly, boomers are embarking on entirely different “encore” careers after retirement.

“The reality is people are living longer, healthier lives, and when they get to the point when the need to make a change - they retire, are laid off or sell their business - they are 60 years old, and they say ‘I still have another 10, 15, or 20 or more years and I want to do something,’ ” said Nancy Collamer, author of “Second Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.”

“It’s out of financial necessity is some cases, but it’s lifestyle in other cases,” she said.

Take Linda Lombri, 65, and Virginia Cornue, 68, both of Montclair, N.J. In their post-retirement lives they have reinvented themselves as mystery writers, even though neither had written fiction before. They began an e-book series, the “Sandra Troux Mysteries,” which is sold on 10 websites, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple’s iTunes. The first in the series, “The Mystery of the Ming Connection,” was published last year under their pseudonym, Crystal Sharpe. Their second in the series will be out this spring; the third in the fall.

Both fans of the Nancy Drew series when they were young girls, they have re-imagined her into a trio of female baby boomer characters. “Not only are we reinventing ourselves, we have our characters reinventing themselves as well,” Cornue said.

Pushed out at 62

Lombri had careers as a home economist and a marketing executive. She was forced into retirement at 62 when her job was eliminated - when she had a daughter who was a high school sophomore. “I was ready for (retirement) emotionally, but not financially,” she said.

Cornue said she has already reinvented herself several times. She started out as an actor in New York City, became a director of nonprofit organizations and ended up a cultural anthropologist. She still teaches part time at a local college.

Then there’s David Roll, 72, who ended his career as a Washington, D.C., lawyer 10 years ago and embarked on a new one as an author, historian and founder of Lex Mundi, a nonprofit agency that finds pro bono lawyers for social entrepreneurs around the world.

But it’s the nonprofit legal agency, which has taken him around the world, that occupies most of his time: “I love it,” he said. “It has its frustrations, because you’ve got to raise money to keep it going. But to have created something that is having an impact. ... Not every social entrepreneur is changing the world, but they are some doing amazing things.”


Yuval Zaliouk, 74, is co-owner of YZ Enterprises in Toledo, Ohio. He retired from a career as conductor of the Toledo Symphony in 1989 and decided he didn’t want to move his family to take another conducting assignment.

The answer was his dream: to make and sell cookies based on his grandmother’s recipe, starting out in his kitchen. 

“I even won entrepreneur of the year award in 2003,” he said. “I never imagined that I could be a businessman.”

The Almondina cookies now sell 12,000 cases a day, ship to all 50 states and can be found in supermarket chains such as Trader Joe’s and Publix. Oh, by the way, the co-owner of the business is his wife, Susan, a former ballerina with the Royal Ballet Company in London, where they met.

“Only in America,” said Zaliouk, a native of Israel. “There is a lot of mobility in this country. It’s not like Europe, where if you are not fired, you stick with a job for life. Here you are free to start things. It’s a different atmosphere.”

Marc Freedman is founder and chief executive officer of, a San Francisco-based organization that helps Boomers start that second career. Its focus is getting them involved in nonprofit agencies.

Freedman spent 15 years working with children in low-income neighborhoods. He has long had an interest in mentoring, so he made his second career into a job that helps baby boomers step into their second careers.

“The larger aspiration behind the organization is to tap the human capital and population moving into their 50s and 60s,” Freedman said.

Zaliouk has advice for budding boomer entrepreneurs: “In one word, courage.”

“It really is a question of courage, making up your mind to do something - courage, tenacity or stubbornness,” he said.


The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are involved in helping retirees into encore careers, as entrepreneurs. They are jointly promoting April as Encore Entrepreneurial Mentor Month, featuring one-on-one instruction, classes, mentoring programs and help writing business plans.

How to Find Unadvertised Jobs In The Hidden Job Market

I’ve posted alot about Linkedin recently, so for a change today, I want to share some other equally powerful ways you can leverage the internet to find unadvertised jobs. In this recession, the numbers of unadvertised jobs are soaring. That’s because employers are typically looking to save money any way they can. This means they are looking for every opportunity to find suitable job candidates for free. If they can do this without a  paying for a recruiter, headhunter or expensive press and job board ads, they will.

So the secret is to know how to exploit this situation and turn it to your advantage. Your Linkedin strategy is one way, but there are other largely unknown tactics you can use. And if not many others know about them, and you do, the advantage this gives you is huge. At a stroke you’ll be not only finding more opportunities, you’ll be eliminating 90% of your potential competition before you even go to the interview!

So today I am delighted to share a great video from Jim Stroud which takes you through some really smart internet tactics which will enable you turn this situation to your advantage. Jim is an ex-recruiter and his insider knowledge is massively valuable for job hunters.

This film takes you step by step through a powerful strategy that will pull job opportunities to you instead of you joining the crowd and chasing after the jobs which are advertised. As I’ve said a hundred times before here, that’s not how you’ll get hired in today’s market. Work smart first ,hard second…

My thanks go to Jim for his excellent video and if you’d like to get in touch with him, the links are here:

France has lost ONE MILLION jobs, report claims

By Ian Sparks
  • Now 60,000 French businessmen abroad employing around 16 people each
  • Think-tank Concorde found 3% of two million French expats own companies
  • Tax exiles include Gerard Depardieu, Jean-Michel Jarre and Bernard Arnault
France's repressive tax regime has sent entrepreneurs fleeing abroad and lost the country up to a million jobs, a damning new report has revealed.

Tax hikes and employment regulations imposed by left and right wing governments over 20 years meant there were now 60,000 French businessmen abroad employing around 16 people each.

The figures were released amid a flood of wealthy French quitting France this year to avoid a looming socialist tax of 75 per cent on all earnings over one million euros - about £850,000.

Film star Gerard Depardieu, the Mulliez family who own the Auchan supermarket chain, electronic music icon Jean-Michel Jarre and France's richest man Bernard Arnault have all quit France in the past six months.

Now research by the think-tank Concorde has found that three percent of the two million French living abroad now own companies and if they had not left there would one million more people in work in France.

And their report published in French daily Le Figaro describes even that figure as a 'conservative estimate'.

It added that the number of French going into tax exile had accelerated dramatically in the past year, and sales of properties worth more than one million pounds had also shot up.

France's economy minister Pierre Moscovici has reacted angrily to claims rich French are leaving the country, telling a conference of business leaders in Paris: 'I am troubled to read in the papers that the exile has begun, and that companies are fleeing.

'I also lament attacks on the government's economic policies that are in vogue in France and abroad. Le French-bashing is terrible.'

His comments also came after Laurence Parisot - head of MEDEF, the French equivalent of the UK's Confederation of British Industry - warned that left-wing economic policies risked turning France into 'the poor man of Europe'.

She said: 'Large foreign investors are shunning France altogether. It's becoming really dramatic.

'Ten years ago, Germany was the poor man of Europe and if we don't act now, that title will soon be ours.'

Paris estate agents said in September that France's luxury property market had hit a 'selling panic' as the super-rich rushed to flee new higher taxes.

Estate agent Daniel Feau said: 'It's nearly a general panic. Some 400 to 500 residences worth more than one million euros have come onto the Paris market since May.'

And British estate agent Sotherby's said its French offices sold more than 100 properties over 1.7 million euros between April and June this year - a marked increase on the same period in 2011.

Another report earlier this year by British estate agent Knight Frank said the tax plans had sent French interest in luxury London homes rocketing.

Inquiries from wealthy French for London homes worth more than five million pounds soared by 30 per cent in the first three months of this year, the statistics showed.

Prime minister David Cameron angered the French in June when he told the B20 business summit in Mexico: 'If the French go ahead with a 75 per cent top rate of tax we will roll out the red carpet and welcome more French businesses to Britain.
'And they can pay tax in Britain and pay for our health service and schools and everything else.'

The comments left one French politician so offended he suggested Mr Cameron must have been 'drunk' when he made them.

Gallic MP Claude Bartolone, a staunch ally of President Hollande, said: 'I hope that it was an after-dinner remark and that he didn't have all his wits about him when he said these things.'

France's European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve insisted there was no 'exodus', adding: 'What I can answer to this statement from the British prime minister is that French bosses are patriots.'

'There is a range of measures we will take in favour of business, measures that will support investment and encourage business to stay in France.'

Read more:

LinkedIn: How the latest changes will improve your job search

Here’s some hot news about the latest changes to Linkedin’s search algorithms. Don’t yawn…this is exciting stuff! I’ve added a slide show too, so you can see how these will work from now on. In essence Linkedin searches will become much more responsive to your inputs, ‘learning’ what you are looking for and better matching your skills and preferences to the results that matter to you.

First, here’s Chris Crum’s excellent introduction:

By Chris Crum

It doesn’t come with all the fanfare of Facebook’s Graph Search, but another important social network has just revamped its search engine.

LinkedIn announced some new search capabilities, which it describes as “smarter and more streamlined,” and though Facebook’s Graph Search has plenty of ramifications for businesses, LinkedIn is used almost exclusively as a business tool.

“We’ve unified the search experience so you no longer need to search for people, companies, or jobs separately,” explains LinkedIn’s Johnathan Podemsky. “Now, all you need to do is type what you’re looking for into the search box and you’ll see a comprehensive page of results that pulls content from all across LinkedIn including people, jobs, groups and companies.”

They’ve also added auto-complete, suggested searches, a “smarter” query intent algorithm, enhanced advanced search, and automated alerts. As you search more on LinkedIn, the algorithm learns more about your intent to improve your results. Enhanced search includes filers like location, company, school, etc. Searchers can save their searches to be alerted when results change.

“No two professionals are alike on LinkedIn,” says Podemsky. “This means even if you search for the same thing as someone else, your results will be customized to you. LinkedIn’s search efforts are founded on the ability to take into account who you are, who you know, and what your network is doing to help you find what you’re looking for. And we’ll continue iterating on this with better ways to surface new kinds of content across Linkedin as well as more personalized results.”

The changes will start rolling out today, and should be available to all within the coming weeks. According to the company, there were 5.7 billion “professionally oriented” searches performed on LinkedIn in 2012.

In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better ... It’s Brutal

Young graduates are in debt, out of work and on their parents’ couches. People in their 30s and 40s can’t afford to buy homes or have children. Retirees are earning near-zero interest on their savings.

In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.

These Americans in their 50s and early 60s - those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security - have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.

Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”

New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives. A recent study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care.

“If I break my wrist, I lose my house,” said Susan Zimmerman, 62, a freelance writer in Cleveland, of the distress that a medical emergency would wreak upon her finances and her quality of life. None of the three part-time jobs she has cobbled together pay benefits, and she says she is counting the days until she becomes eligible for Medicare.

In the meantime, Ms. Zimmerman has fashioned her own regimen of home remedies - including eating blue cheese instead of taking penicillin and consuming plenty of orange juice, red wine, coffee and whatever else the latest longevity studies recommend - to maintain her health, which she must do if she wants to continue paying the bills.

“I will probably be working until I’m 100,” she said.

As common as that sentiment is, the job market has been especially unkind to older workers.

Unemployment rates for Americans nearing retirement are far lower than those for young people, who are recently out of school, with fewer skills and a shorter work history. But once out of a job, older workers have a much harder time finding another one. Over the last year, the average duration of unemployment for older people was 53 weeks, compared with 19 weeks for teenagers, according to the Labor Department’s jobs report released on Friday.

The lengthy process is partly because older workers are more likely to have been laid off from industries that are downsizing, like manufacturing. Compared with the rest of the population, older people are also more likely to own their own homes and be less mobile than renters, who can move to new job markets.

Older workers are more likely to have a disability of some sort, perhaps limiting the range of jobs that offer realistic choices. They may also be less inclined, at least initially, to take jobs that pay far less than their old positions. 

Displaced boomers also believe they are victims of age discrimination, because employers can easily find a young, energetic worker who will accept lower pay and who can potentially stick around for decades rather than a few years.

“When you’re older, they just see gray hair and they write you off,” said Arynita Armstrong, 60, of Willis, Tex. She has been looking for work for five years since losing her job at a mortgage company. “They’re afraid to hire you, because they think you’re a health risk. You know, you might make their premiums go up. They think it’ll cost more money to invest in training you than it’s worth it because you might retire in five years.

“Not that they say any of this to your face,” she added.

When older workers do find re-employment, the compensation is usually not up to the level of their previous jobs, according to data from the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

In a survey by the center of older workers who were laid off during the recession, just one in six had found another job, and half of that group had accepted pay cuts. Fourteen percent of the re-employed said the pay in their new job was less than half what they earned in their previous job.

“I just say to myself: ‘Why me? What have I done to deserve this?’ ” said John Agati, 56, of Norwalk, Conn., whose last full-time job, as a merchandise buyer and product developer, ended four years ago when his employer went out of business.

That position paid $90,000, and his résumé lists stints at companies like American Express, Disney and USA Networks. Since being laid off, though, he has worked a series of part-time, low-wage, temporary positions, including selling shoes at Lord & Taylor and making sales calls for a limo company.

The last few years have taken a toll not only on his family’s finances, but also on his feelings of self-worth.

“You just get sad,” Mr. Agati said. “I see people getting up in the morning, going out to their careers and going home. I just wish I was doing that. Some people don’t like their jobs, or they have problems with their jobs, but at least they’re working. I just wish I was in their shoes.”

He said he cannot afford to go back to school, as many younger people without jobs have done. Even if he could afford it, economists say it is unclear whether older workers like him benefit much from more education.

“It just doesn’t make sense to offer retraining for people 55 and older,” said Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas in Austin. “Discrimination by age, long-term unemployment, the fact that they’re now at the end of the hiring queue, the lack of time horizon just does not make it sensible to invest in them.”

Many displaced older workers are taking this message to heart and leaving the labor force entirely.

The share of older people applying for Social Security early spiked during the recession as people sought whatever income they could find. The penalty they will pay is permanent, as retirees who take benefits at age 62 — as Ms. Zimmerman did, to help make her mortgage payments — will receive as much as 30 percent less in each month’s check for the rest of their lives than they would if they had waited until full retirement age (66 for those born after 1942). 

Those not yet eligible for Social Security are increasingly applying for another, comparable kind of income support that often goes to people who expect never to work again: disability benefits. More than one in eight people in their late 50s is now on some form of federal disability insurance program, according to Mark Duggan, chairman of the department of business economics and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

The very oldest Americans, of course, were battered by some of the same ill winds that tormented those now nearing retirement, but at least the most senior were cushioned by a more readily available social safety net. More important, in a statistical twist, they may have actually benefited from the financial crisis in the most fundamental way: prolonged lives.

Death rates for people over 65 have historically fallen during recessions, according to a November 2011 study by economists at the University of California, Davis. Why? The researchers argue that weak job markets push more workers into accepting relatively undesirable work at nursing homes, leading to better care for residents.

With Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection

I received this message from my good friend Andrew Ginsburg in my alerts this morning. Andrew shared the article below with these comments of his own. Do please check out his excellent blog here:

I can only endorse what Andrew is saying about the terrible price job hunters are being asked to pay in their long and frustrating quests to find work. So over to Andrew:

This is a fantastic article from the New York Times that is a must read for anyone unemployed, interviewing, looking for a job or working for a hiring company. The article goes in depth about companies making candidates go through 20 interviews per job; and still not get hired. It really shows what many have told me directly, that candidates are in good faith applying for jobs and jumping through hoops and continuing to be unemployed for weeks, months and years. If you are going through this yourself, or know others who are, please read this article. It validates what you are going through and can help others understand what its like out there.

I would also like to see an article or series of articles about the human toll of years of rejection. I have spoken to many therapists who say their clients, the ones that can afford to go, are in deep states of depression over the endless rejection and the endless days with no job to go to. Substance abuse is spiking and marriages are ending because of this crisis. In the meantime, start with this article, and the comments too.

American employers have a variety of job vacancies, piles of cash and countless well-qualified candidates. But despite a slowly improving economy, many companies remain reluctant to actually hire, stringing job applicants along for weeks or months before they make a decision. 

The number of job openings has increased to levels not seen since the height of the financial crisis, but vacancies are staying unfilled much longer than they used to - an average of 23 business days today compared to a low of 15 in mid-2009, according to a new measure of Labor Department data by the economists Steven J. Davis, Jason Faberman and John Haltiwanger.

Some have attributed the more extended process to a mismatch between the requirements of the four million jobs available and the skills held by many of the 12 million unemployed. That’s probably true in a few high-skilled fields, like nursing or biotech, but for a large majority of positions where candidates are plentiful, the bigger problem seems to be a sort of hiring paralysis.

“There’s a fear that the economy is going to go down again, so the message you get from C.F.O.’s is to be careful about hiring someone,” said John Sullivan, a management professor at San Francisco State University who runs a human resources consulting business. “There’s this great fear of making a mistake, of wasting money in a tight economy.”

As a result, employers are bringing in large numbers of candidates for interview after interview after interview. Data from, a site that collects information on hiring at different companies, shows that the average duration of the interview process at major companies like Starbucks, General Mills and Southwest Airlines has roughly doubled since 2010.

“After they call you back after the sixth interview, there’s a part of you that wants to say, ‘That’s it, I’m not going back,’ ” said Paul Sullivan, 43, an exasperated but cheerful video editor in Washington. “But then you think, hey, maybe seven is my lucky number. And besides, if I don’t go, they’ll just eliminate me if something else comes up because they’ll think I have an attitude problem.”

Like other job seekers around the country, he has been through marathon interview sessions. Mr. Sullivan has received eighth- and ninth-round callbacks for positions at three different companies. Two of those companies, as it turned out, ultimately decided not to hire anyone, he said; instead they put their openings “on hold” because of budget pressures.

At one company, while signing into the visitor’s log for the sixth time, he was chided by the security guard.

“He thought I worked there and just kept forgetting my security badge,” Mr. Sullivan said. “He couldn’t believe I was actually there for another interview. I couldn’t either! But then I put on a happy face, went upstairs and waited for another round of questions.”

The hiring delays are part of the vicious cycle the economy has yet to escape: jobless and financially stretched Americans are reluctant to spend, which holds back demand, which in turn frays employers’ confidence that sales will firm up and justify committing to a new hire.

Job creation over the last two years has been steady but too slow to put a major dent in the backlog of unemployed workers, and the February jobs report due out on Friday is expected to be equally mediocre. Uncertainty about the effect of fiscal policy in Washington is not helping expectations for the rest of the year, either.

“If you have an opening and are not sure about the economy, it’s pretty cheap to wait for a month or two,” said Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University. But in the aggregate, those little delays, coupled with fiscal uncertainty, are stretching out the recovery process. “It’s like one of those horror movies, an economic Friday the 13th, where this recession never seems to die.”

Employers might be making candidates jump through so many hoops partly because so many workers have been jobless for months or years, and hiring managers want to make sure the candidates’ skills are up to date, said Robert Shimer, an economics professor at the University of Chicago.

But there’s also little pressure to hire right now, so long as candidates are abundant and existing staff members are afraid to refuse the extra workload created by an unfilled position. Employers can keep dragging out the hiring process until they’re more confident about their business - or at least until they find the superstar candidate.

“They’re chasing after that purple squirrel,” said Roger Ahlfeld, 44, of Framingham, Mass., using a human resources industry term for an impossibly qualified job applicant.

An H.R. professional himself, Mr. Ahlfeld has been looking for work since August 2011, and has been frustrated to find himself the “silver medalist” for a couple of jobs after six separate rounds of interviews totaling 10 to 20 hours for each position, not including prep work and transportation time. For both of those jobs, though, there still has been no gold medalist. After eight months, they remain unfilled, with the companies intermittently posting a job ad, taking it down, and then posting it again.

In addition to demanding credentials beyond what a given position traditionally requires, employers have thrown up more hurdles as screening devices. In his job hunt over the last year, Mr. Sullivan has taken several video-editing tests, which he says he aced. But he has also been subjected to a battery of personality and psychological exams, a spelling quiz and even a math test (including a question that began, to the best of his recollection, “If John is on a train traveling from New York at 40 miles per hour, and Susie is on a train from Boston...”).

He passed the math test with a 90 percent score, he said.

“Sister Callahan would be very proud that I was able to remember math problems I learned in prep school,” he said. “But what on earth does that have to do with the job I was applying for? It was like something out of ‘Seinfeld.’ ”

For the companies themselves, economists say, the gantlets they have constructed may be wasting managers’ time and company resources. Besides, there are diminishing returns to interviewing candidates so many times; a recent internal analysis at Google, a company that developed a reputation for over-interviewing even when the economy was good, showed that the optimal number of interviews for any given candidate was four. But according to user reviews on, the average Google interview process has expanded in the last two years, to 30 days from 21. Google declined to comment.

 And for applicants, the expenses add up fast. Mr. Sullivan calculates that the three positions he applied for cost him $520.36 in parking fees, two parking tickets, gas and trips to Starbucks while waiting for his interviews. (He recently switched to taking a coffee thermos, he says.) That excludes the costs of producing and mailing his video work, dry-cleaning bills for the suits he dons for interviews and thousands of dollars of fees to become certified in new video-editing programs.

Job seekers just have to hope that the investment pays off.

Jameson Cherilus, 23, counts himself as one of the lucky ones. Since graduating at the top of his 2012 class at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, he has spent hundreds of dollars traveling from his home in Bridgeport to interview for jobs in New York. After about six weeks of interviews for an entry-level administrative position at a talent agency, he was finally offered the job in mid-December.

There’s just one catch.

More than two months later, he said, “They still haven’t given me my start date.”

The full article is at

Jim Rogers - why farmers will be driving Lamborghinis

By Neil Patrick

I have talked elsewhere on this blog and Twitter about the likely meltdown of the global economy. I hate to be alarmist or sensational, but the more I look at the numbers, the more convinced I am that no other outcome is ultimately now possible.

In Europe this week, the situation in Cyprus is in my view a foretaste of the type of events that will spread across the western economies in the coming months and years. The inability of politicians to find a solution is now beyond doubt I think.

If you've worked hard, saved and invested your money all your life, you are about to be punished very severely for this as the citizens of Greece, Spain and Cyprus have recently discovered. In fact it’s already happening by stealth means as low interest rates, inflation, stagnant earnings and rising taxes combine to extract wealth from the middle classes to pay for unsustainable government spending and bank bailout programmes.

Here noted investor, free market advocate, and author Jim Rogers gives an interview with Glenn Beck. He asks whether the latest State of the Union address makes you wonder whether President Barack Obama is "delusional" or just a good liar? It’s a good question, but I think the answer doesn't really matter. What matters is understanding what is coming and how we can prepare ourselves.

So what can we do about this at a personal level? Well an MBA is possibly the most redundant qualification in the US right now says Jim. On the other hand, as food supplies become more and more critical, farming will become more valuable than ever, ‘the farmers will be driving Lamborghinis!’ says Jim.

This isn't enjoyable to watch, but I’d rather know about the looming threats than stumble blindly into them. My thanks go to Glen Beck and Jim Rogers for their insights.

New research proves ageism laws don’t protect older workers

Last week TAEN published the latest edition of its 50+ Jobseekers Survey. In some ways the results are predictable – surveys so often tell us things that we already know by instinct – but there are surprising insights too.

ONS figures show more older people in work and there is a general feeling that older people are doing reasonably well in the labour market.

The sad fact is however, that deeply embedded structural disadvantages and ingrained ageist attitudes bar hundreds of thousands of older people from returning to work. It is clear that older jobseekers struggle harder than most. Overwhelmingly they want to work because of financial need, a desire to feel valued and the social interaction work brings. Many are ‘worried’ or ‘desperate’ about not working.

They identify adverse attitudes by recruiters, mismatches of their own skills or qualifications with employers’ needs and the national focus on youth unemployment as being among the reasons for their problems.

These barriers faced by older jobseekers continue more than six years after age discrimination was outlawed by the 2006 Age Regulations and two years after the end of the Default Retirement Age (DRA), allowing people to be forcibly retired at 65.

Today, despite these reforming legal changes, the challenge of ending age discrimination is as relevant as ever. Only one in ten over 50s looking for work think age discrimination law had helped them.

47 per cent of our older jobseekers believed that the law had not had any benefit at all. One respondent, a former managing director seeking work, commented, “Age discrimination is rife in my view. Employers can work out your age with ease.”

Some respondents even volunteered the view that repeal of the DRA had made it harder to get work!

A former HR manager commented, “Given that compulsory retirement is now not available I suspect that many employers are reluctant to recruit older staff who, they fear, may present motivational and even attendance issues in future.”

One could argue that finding work has always been bad for older jobseekers. Blaming the end of the DRA on their current problems may be misreading the problem.

Moreover, those completing our survey as “older jobseekers” were by definition people who had not (so far) succeeded in getting work. Others who had been successful might have offered different views – if we had asked them.

Nonetheless, how do we respond to our respondents who claimed their problems could be explained by employers being charier about hiring people who want to work longer, now the DRA has been removed?
Perhaps they are right.

We have a labour market that is ambivalent in its attitudes to older people. Employers will allow them to work longer in the same jobs if they wish but they bottle out of offering them new jobs, believing they may want to work for ever.People are working longer in part because they can choose to remain in work longer but the lot of the older person who has left a job is problematic.

He or she is likely to fall outside the person specification offered by employers to recruitment agencies, simply on grounds of age. And there is significant evidence (anecdotal, of course) that some recruitment agencies connive with employers and fail to challenge ageist attitudes. (See Loughborough University’s Working Late project for example).

It seems clear that the law is being flouted with impunity and there is a presumption that, ‘of course employers will discriminate by age if they wish to so’. The eradication of age discrimination in employment is a far from complete.

The time has surely come to assess the effectiveness of the law against age discrimination in recruitment. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has the power to launch official enquiries and undertake formal investigations. What is stopping it?

US: A Ray of Hope Amid a Grim Forecast for Mature Workers

WASHINGTON,  March 19, 2013  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

The latest job statistics show a grim outlook for the nation's mature workers, but an initiative from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) aims to improve older adults' likelihood of securing training, jobs, and financial support.

The Bureau of Labor statistics latest figures indicate that 5.8% of workers aged 55+ were jobless and actively seeking employment in February. While this figure is lower than the national average of 7.7%, unemployed mature workers are more likely to be out of work longer than their younger counterparts. In 2012,adults aged 55-64, on average, were unemployed for 54.6 weeks, compared to 36.4 weeks for workers aged 25-34.

"Being age 55-64 and out of work is particularly difficult, because you're unable to tap into the traditional safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security," said Nora Dowd Eisenhower, senior vice president of economic security at NCOA. "But jobs still matter for this population. With years of life still ahead of them, mature workers need opportunities now for training or retraining that leverage their experience and give them marketable job skills."

NCOA, with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, is piloting one solution. Over the next year, NCOA will partner with agencies in  New Jersey,  New York,  San Francisco, and  Virginia  to help hundreds of low-income, older adults obtain work skills training along with services and benefits that maximize their budgets and help them get out of debt. 

Also, supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, thousands more mature workers will benefit from JobSource, a soon to be launched website that will help older adults assess their job skills, conduct a job search, and find job training online.

"As high unemployment rates continue to hurt the economic health of communities large and small across the U.S., older adults have been impacted for longer durations in conjunction with reduced social safety nets," said  Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. "Connecting these mature workers with opportunities that help them secure training, jobs and financial support plays an important role in our broader efforts to connect individuals with meaningful employment that ultimately strengthens local economies."

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington,DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults-especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged-and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit:

About Bank of America Charitable Foundation 

Bank of America's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees.

Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs;investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts andculture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work.

Learn more at:

and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community

SOURCE: National Council on Aging

Paul DelPonte, Interim Director, Marketing & Communications, +1-202-609-6930,

Update - Government robs citizens of Cyprus

UPDATE Monday 25th March

By Neil Patrick

I've just watched the President of Cyprus announce that a deal has reached with the ECB to bail out Cyprus. Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a 10bn-euro bailout deal for Cyprus to prevent its banking system collapsing and keep the country in the eurozone.

Since the final shape of this deal has been under discussion for a over a week now, the terms are somewhat different to how they were mooted when I reported below. But the ethical fundamentals are unchanged. The Cyprus government with the ECB holding a gun to its' head, is now robbing its' banks and citizens directly. They have attempted to avoid inciting the mass of the electorate by applying a cap, so that only those with significant sums on deposit pay for the politicians' errors...the people who are the least unlikely to incite civil unrest in other words...

Laiki (Popular) Bank - the country's second-biggest - will be wound down and deposit-holders with more than 100,000 euros ($130,000; £85,000) will face big losses. However, all deposits under 100,000 euros will be "fully guaranteed". On the face of it, the better off citizens and corporates will pay, and the less wealthy will be protected. For now.

But think about it - £85,000 isn't a fortune. Plenty of people who have worked hard all their lives and paid their taxes are about to be robbed by their government to pay for the government's errors. It's more than a disgrace, it's a terrifying portent of what we can expect to see repeated again and again in the coming months and years.

I don't see this as a rescue. I see it as a small scale test of a new and very troubling development in the evolution of 'democratic' governments' interpretation of democracy and their legitimate authority.

IMF head Christine Lagarde said the bailout deal agreed was "a comprehensive and credible plan" to help restore trust in the banking system. Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said he believed the possibility of bankruptcy had been averted. Christine Lagarde is of course desperately trying to shore up confidence in the Euro, whilst the Cypriot Government have found a scapegoat in their banks; an easy and popluar target to divert the blame to.

Cypriot officials meanwhile have warned the island faces a deep recession with many businesses to shut. The mood of Cypriots seems to be relief that whilst this is bad, things could have been much worse.

Give it time...

Meanwhile the content of Stefan Molyneux's video below seems even more relevant and justified now. So if you've not seen it have a look now with the luxury of hindsight...

Once again, my intention to post about the jobs crisis has been overtaken by news that is so astonishing that I had to report on it immediately. I have long believed that the populations of western democracies live under the illusion of freedom. But this isn’t a philosophy blog, so I’ll not expand that idea here and now.

Something has happened now though that is yet more evidence of this idea as reality. And it’s a profound and shocking example of what we can expect to see more of in Europe as the Eurozone farce unravels. Rather than inflating the currency, which was the pre-EU strategy, the Cypriot government has decided to adopt a more obvious form of theft by taking money directly from its citizens’ bank accounts.

A €10 billion EU bailout required a 9.9% tax on anyone with deposits greater than €100,000, and 6.75% on those less than €100,000. Savers who lost money would be compensated by shares in commercial banks, with equity returns guaranteed by future revenues expected from natural gas discoveries.

The president was elected weeks ago partly because he ruled out any kind of wealth tax. According to one report, the IMF and EU were originally demanding a 40% wealth tax on bank account holders in Cyprus.

What is so wrong with Cyprus? Unemployment is half that of Greece and Spain and debt to GDP is 87%. The US has a debt to GDP of well over 100%.This is economic imperialism, a fundamental breach of property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers.

The European Central Bank has no money, it's exchanging paper for assets.

Cypriot banks got into trouble after losing €4.5 billion on their Greek government bond holdings after Euro zone leaders decided to write down Greece's debt last year. The Cypriot president said if he hadn't accepted the tax on bank deposits, the European Central Bank would have stopped providing emergency funds to the country's top two lenders which would have led to the collapse of the banking system, the bankruptcy of thousands of small businesses, massive job losses, and ultimately the country's exit from the Euro.

You may well have caught some of this news in the mainstream media, but as usual, I went looking for a deeper analysis and I am pleased to share here Stefan Molyneux’s excellent evaluation and commentary.

Stefan Molyneux is the host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy show on the web -

Why Post 50 Males Must Resist Becoming "Standardized Old Men"

Two years ago I spoke at the Florida Boomer Lifestyle Conference in Clearwater, Florida. I entitled my presentation "The Mission, The Man, The Money: Marketing to Baby Boomer Men." My goal was to inspire this audience about business possibilities revolving around Boomer male aging in a society that has often marginalized aging men.

I wanted my audience to understand why and how Boomer men will challenge the stereotypes and social strictures of aging. This is a generation that has never settled for outdated traditions, and collectively men over 50 will create new images of male aging: concepts that are humanistic, individualistic and empowered. The sociology of Boomer male aging has vast implications for business, from edgy new products to inspired services.

On a concurrent track I happened to be reading Existentialism for Beginners, a concise book written by David Cogswell, one of my high school classmates and a friend from our college years. Although I once designed and taught a university course entitled "Topics and Problems on Humanistic and Existential Psychology," it is lamentable how much I had forgotten about existentialism and how extensively this philosophy pervades contemporary thinking and culture. It's a philosophy for today as all Americans struggle to discover how to redefine and reinvent themselves in a time of much economic uncertainty and global unrest, a time when traditional institutions seem to be faltering.

David Cogswell brilliantly grapples with the complexities of existential philosophy and all the major writers contributing to this revolution in thought that emerged into popular culture following dark years of fascism and World War II (although he correctly traces the roots of existentialism back to the mid-19th century).

As Cogswell writes, "Existentialism focuses attention and concern on the individual over the group..." And he conveys a liberating idea: "To achieve an authentic life, an individual must direct oneself and resist the pressure of mass society to create standardized human beings."

With Boomer men sensing the end of their primary careers and a future rife with uncertainties - economic, social and medical - many are now considering how to avoid becoming standardized aging humans. Many realize that to resist society's impositions - stereotypes of aging males, lack of clear purpose that can accompany retirement, and wrenching searches for deeper meaning, for relevance, for a sense of legacy - they must do as existentialists intone.

"There is not fixed definition of a human being," Cogswell clarifies. "We define ourselves through our choices and actions. We find ourselves in the world, existing in a particular situation, but must go forward from there to create ourselves."

This is the power and perplexity of a life-stage so bereft of clear-cut paths. Living beyond 50 and 60 compels most men to understand their fundamental values and then ascertain how those values can best be expressed for personal enrichment and enduring benefits for others.

In my Florida speech I presented some interesting new research about happiness. According to researchers, humans seem to find greatest happiness early in adulthood and then again late in life, beyond 50 and 60. Between those bookends looms a mid-life slump when we feel least happy with our situation.

For American men, that deep trough arrives around age 56, a chronological anniversary that so many men are now experiencing. The low point for American women arrives nearly a decade earlier, possibly in tandem with menopause and empty nesting.

Roughly 12,273,000 American men are now between 55 and 59, so, according to this research, millions are struggling with depression and futility that robs us of our sense of life satisfaction, our happiness. It's not too much of a leap to conclude that many of these men are grappling with the potential wasteland of an aging life, a sunset not fully validated with continuing engagement, enrichment and purpose.

Individual men may feel powerless against external forces of unemployment, layoffs, downsizing and chronic diseases. But when a generation of men known to challenge authority confronts this evolving life-stage, transformative beliefs and actions can emerge. A generation of men that embraced feminism and racial inclusiveness can create new constructs for male aging, conceptions that are engaging, uplifting and liberating.

Author Cogswell identifies Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) as the "soul of existentialism," a thinker who has influenced contemporary psychology, literature, spirituality, art and music. Nietzsche wrote that "society everywhere is a conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." And it seems true today that millions of Boomer men, vital and engaged as many now are, must nevertheless consider how traditional habits in western society could conspire to strip them of their opportunities to thrive beyond 60 and into bonus years promised to so many.

I concluded my Florida speech by resurrecting words written more than a century ago by Walt Whitman:

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
"And what I assume you shall assume,
"For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."
"I too am not a bit tamed,
"I too am untranslatable,
"I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world."

Whitman's thoughts are a metaphor, reflective of the heart of a generation of men looking into the mirror and seeing the face of male aging. They will not be tamed in the sense of outdated traditions around aging, and collectively they will bring new meaning to this life-stage while stimulating reinvention of the businesses and brands that serve them.

As the great writers about existentialism would urge, Boomer men must resist all forces compelling them to become standardized old men. YAWP!

Brent Green is the author of "Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers" and "Generation Reinvention," the founder of Brent Green & Associates Inc., a frequent keynote speaker and radio host