Older, Wiser, and Career Dynamic
I have executive coaching clients in their fifth and sixth decade of life who are navigating a career change due to lay-offs, or company mergers beyond their control. Others are career transitioning by choice. My clients expressed worry about ageism as they consider what’s next on their professional journey and seek employment that honors their strengths, experience, and wisdom.
While ageism is a reality in the career marketplace, it’s high time we flipped the narrative to focus on the value and expertise seasoned professionals bring to the world-of-work. The clients with whom I am working are extraordinary leaders with valuable life and career experiences that are sought-after by savvy organizations who understand the power of a multi-generational workforce.
60+ and Not Going Anywhere
I featured Susan Wilner Golden, an expert on innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities created by the new longevity generation on my podcast, Your Working Life. Golden teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Check out our podcast episode here. Golden’s book – Stage (Not Age): How to Understand and Serve People Over 60—the Fastest Growing, Most Dynamic Market in the World was an eye opener.
Golden’s Harvard Business Review book states, by the time it takes you to read this, another twenty Americans will turn sixty-five. Ten thousand people a day are crossing that threshold, and that number will continue to grow. In fifteen years, Americans aged sixty-five and over will outnumber those under age eighteen. Nearly everywhere in the world, people over sixty are the fastest-growing age group. Longevity presents an opportunity that companies need to develop a strategy for – now.
Longevity Generation Power
The Longevity economy is a $22 trillion opportunity that can be unlocked if you rethink everything you think you know about people over sixty. Estimates put the global market for this demographic at a whopping $22 trillion across every industry you can imagine. Entertainment, travel, education, health care, housing, transportation, consumer goods and services, product design, tech, financial services, and many others will benefit, but only if marketers unlearn what they think they know about this growing population.
“The longevity economy includes all the jobs, services, and products that are being created to support longer life spans and all the contributions of long-lived lives. This is a new concept, and it’s worth over $8.6 trillion here in the United States.”
No longer does the concept of learn, earn, and then retire make sense when people are living 100-year lives. Young kids today can expect to live well into their 100s, which changes the generational impact of the economy.
Every company needs a longevity strategy for their products and services, and for their workforce. People are going to have 60-year career spans. With a longer career duration – upskilling will become essential to learn new skills as the world-of-work evolves and innovates. Career breaks or sabbaticals will become the norm as individuals take time off for caregiving for their children and aging parents and then on-ramp back to work.
Golden shared in a McKinsey Insight interview, “Most people really don’t want to retire. They may want to take a break, and they may not want to do the same type of work or career that they had, but they may want to repurpose, rejuvenate, and start in an area that has more meaning for them or that gives them more flexibility.”
Radically Reframe Aging
Maria Shriver, journalist, author, and advocate is hosting a virtual summit about changing the way we think about aging. Featuring a star-studded lineup of celebrities, thought leaders, and visionaries of a certain age, this summit will focus on groundbreaking strategies for wellbeing, purpose, and joy to reinvent the future of aging.
Norma Kamali, the venerable fashion designer is now 75 and shared her truths about aging in this article from Maria Shriver’s Sunday paper.
- Age with Power – live a lifestyle that cares for your body, mind, and soul with movement, positivity, good nutrition, and being real.
- Have Faith that Your Best Years (and Work) Are Both Now and Ahead of You – don’t look back at what was, look ahead at what’s next.
- Let Go of Societal Expectations – create the social norms that are authentic for you.
- Stay Curious – stimulate your brain with new things and nurture creativity.
- Stay Inspired – try something new every day and tap your zest for life.
There are currently five generations in the workforce, which honors diversity of thought and experience. It’s time to focus on the longevity economy and the 60+ talent pool and engage their tremendous value and insight and kick ageism to the curb!