Did you know that Montgomery County, MD is home to 4 of the top 10 most diverse cities in the country? This is based upon ethnic, linguistic and birthplace criteria according to the article “2020’s Most Ethnically Diverse Cities in the U.S.” While Jersey City, New Jersey is the most ethnically diverse city in the country, four Montgomery County cities – Gaithersburg, Germantown, Silver Spring and Rockville – followed at number two, three, five, and seven respectively. Interestingly enough, when comparing diversity in small cities, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Silver Spring, and Rockville are ranked number one through four, respectively.
It is proven time and again that a more diverse workplace results in a higher performing workplace. When looking to grow your team, it is important to look at your current diversity makeup and pipeline over time. Where are the gaps? Where do you see your organization moving? Where will you find your future talent and what will attract this talent to choose you?
What can you do to make sure you are not inadvertently turning away talent before they ever apply, or are you constantly attracting mirror images of your current staff?
If it is time for you to actively engage in a strategy of comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, please start with these quick “toolkits” which will provide information for further research, action steps you can quickly implement and articles with useful case studies or horrible warnings. You can begin slowly to ultimately be the organization you envision and thrive in this melting pot that we all call “home.”
1) Take the AARP Pledge:
Attention Montgomery County employers! Please set an example and take the AARP Employer “Pledge” to uphold anti-discrimination laws and actively hire 50+.
Visit this link:https://www.aarp.org/work/job-search/employer-pledge-companies/. (Note: You can sort the list by state.)
The pledge itself is two sentences. There is no cost involved. Rather, you will enjoy free information to strengthen your business case for hiring 50+ and other useful information pertaining to this age bracket.
Here is an example of how JCA displays the employer pledge seal on its website: https://accessjca.org/job-openings/.
2) The American Workforce Coalition at https://www.americanworkforce.org/
Here you will find a collection of research reports and other resources “to build a national movement supporting America’s older workers.” From its website, the Coalition educates “employers, workforce practitioners, philanthropic leaders, economic development teams, and the American public on the critical role that older workers play in the success of employers and local communities. We identify the approaches that empower older workers with the skills they need to be successful. And we convene leaders and innovators to build scalable solutions to the challenges facing older job seekers.”
3) Age Discrimination is Real
From how you write job descriptions, systems in place to screen applicants, workplace norms such as off-site retreat choices, social engagement, CSR volunteer activities, references, word usage and visual representation in company collateral, etc., subtle hints are prevalent everywhere.
• “Fact Sheet About Age Discrimination” by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, https://montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights/Resources/Files/Age_Discrimination_Fact%20Sheetv5.pdf
• Age Discrimination Continues to Hold Older Workers Back. 2021. AARP’s Research team finds that even as the US economy improves, older workers still report high levels of age discrimination in the workplace. Nearly all workers agree that laws to combat age discrimination should be stronger.
• IT’s Silent Career Killer: Age Discrimination. June 2021. Age discrimination affects IT professionals, even though tech skills are in high demand. A recurring issue is the use of selection criteria that are susceptible to assumptions about age for hiring, promotion, or layoff decisions. To remain competitive, workers can consistently refresh their workplace skills and document progress through training and seminars.
4) Review the Facts about 50+
From the American Workforce Coalition via the Center for Workforce Inclusion, a founding member of that coalition:
The number of workers aged 65 and over who are not in the labor force grew by over 2.6 million between February 2020 and March 2022. That number is more than double the 1.1 million increase among adults under age 65 over the same period.
Bracing for the Silver Tsunami (Forbes, Feb 25, 2022)
When we talk about the future of Montgomery County, we often talk about our rapidly changing demographics and how much we value our diversity. However, age is often overlooked. Like the rest of our nation, Montgomery County is getting older. As our post-war Baby Boomers continue to age it is important that we prepare for the Silver Tsunami.
Seniors are the fastest growing age group in the County.*
Between 2020 and 2040, the 60+ population will increase by 35%
Between 2019 and 2030, the 85+ population will increase by 77%
*Montgomery County, Commission on Aging, 2020 Annual Report – HERE
5) Intergenerational Workplaces
More than half of the 6,000 global employers surveyed by AARP in 2020 revealed that they do not include age in their diversity and inclusion policies. Potential ways for organizations to change this include:
• 6 Ways to Add Age in Your Diversity and Inclusion Guide by AARP – https://www.aarp.org/work/employers/age-diversity-inclusion-guide/
• The Hiring Gap with Ian Siegel, CEO and Co-founder of Zip Recruiter is a video by the Center for Workforce Inclusion – https://www.centerforworkforceinclusion.org/live-event-ian-siegel/
• ASAE gave this American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) article based on an interview of David Gamse, CEO of the Jewish Council for the Aging, regarding “Why Your Association Should Hire Older Workers” – https://associationsnow.com/2018/01/why-your-association-should-hire-older-employees a new life by citing it in “Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Working With Older Employees” at https://associationsnow.com/2022/02/good-reads-you-might-have-missed-working-with-older-employees/.
Both articles ran in Associations Now, which ASAE says “is the premier media brand covering all aspects of association leadership and operations, from governance and membership to event strategy and workplace management.” Delivered in multiple award-winning channels, Associations Now provides real-world stories, innovative thinking, and practical, how-to content to help you turn ideas into action.” ASAE distributes it to more than 41,000 association executives and industry partners representing 5,700 organizations.
6) Equipping Older Workers with New Skills
• New Collar Jobs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfJvYRcwYFM
• Older Workers Are Willing and Eager to Learn New Skills. 2021. AARP’s shares survey results demonstrating that older workers are eager to learn new skills, pushing back against stereotypes that may suggest otherwise.
• The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (Aspen FSP)
• The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality (GCPI)
• Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
• Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging
• Future of Work for the 50+ Blog
• Generations Work (website)
• #LongevityEconomy Newsletter (LinkedIn)
The Encore Network is a coalition of leaders who champion the civic, social and economic contributions of people 50+ by creating community, stimulating learning and inspiring action to transform the encore stage of life.
Employers increasingly recognize the changes in the labor market and longer lives require that they think differently about the value and contribution of older workers.
Click this link to check out their latest publication, “Age Is Now A Strategic Imperative” — An Employers Guide to Engaging Older Workers!
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