Boomers Forced Out of PR… What's Next?
I’ve noticed many of my Boomer friends in the PR industry are officially throwing in the towel after a fruitless year (or two) of looking for work. Some are retiring altogether, even though they wouldn't have parted ways with their careers if they didn’t have to, while others are switching gears.
Boomers have a tough time combating application fatigue because they knew before the pandemic that the industry isn't welcoming to over-50s. If you know me, you know I always thought the industry had a strong preference for springy, fresh-faced, and relatively inexperienced associates through 40-something executives. Over-50s furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic were left with very few options to turn to within the industry.
A Forbes article by Jack Kelly pointed out that the pandemic left many executive positions nullified and replaced with juniors. According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, there is an uptick in the number of retiring Boomers. Kelly also points out the potent ageism in job descriptions like, "...under ten years of experience…" Moreover, many companies are relocating roles as remote to locales where salaries are lower.
There are lots of Boomers who aren't ready to retire yet. Whether it's because they want to work or can't afford not to work, boomers may turn to recruiting (like me) or take their experience and skillset to colleges and universities as teachers. Many opt to take a pay cut and join a nonprofit. Some establish themselves as contractors or consultants, while others try something else entirely.
I believe that agencies should do better in valuing Boomers with tried-and-true expertise and wisdom. In the meantime, Boomers should consider whether they want to keep churning away at applications or if they’re ready to pursue a more stable and promising career. After all, it’s never too late to switch gears and try something new.