Business’s Best Recession Bet: A Mid-Career Professional Woman
My friends, you have finally arrived. You are a woman with 30 years of experience managing multi-million-dollar budgets, sizable teams, and a track record of solid ROI. Your proof points are a resume writer’s dream. While others are planning their exits and retirements, you are planning your next step. Yet, you are having difficulty finding that next right job.
On one hand, employers say they are having a challenging time filling technical and management roles. The corporate bottom line continues to fluctuate during the Great Reset, as younger employees quietly resign. However, when you apply for a job, you can’t even get an interview.
Employers want a dependable work force–career women want new opportunities. It’s time to confront internal bias and focus on a confluence of interests.
In his 2020 Summation article, How To Find A-Players In A Downturn, thought leader Auren Hoffman wrote: “To find A-Players in a downturn, look for people that other people in Silicon Valley would discriminate against… You want to find people that were passed over by other tech companies for reasons other than their talent and give them a chance. You can start with women and minorities. They are still very much discriminated against.” He is right.
Gender bias and ageism is not just a tech industry challenge. “When personal and job characteristics are held constant, jobless women are 18 percent less likely to find new work at age 50 to 61 than at age 25 to 34, “ according to a Washington Post story.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a centerpiece in today’s human resource conversation yet rarely does the discussion focus on the bias against 50-something plus women despite their proven ability to multi-task with diligence and dedication. Female Baby Boomers and Millennials are the “sandwich generation,” supporting children and aging parents. Another growing workforce segment, single older women are not only responsible for building their own retirement savings but also many are assisting other family members.
We are driven to survive and thrive. In fact, my generation may be one of the strongest assets to turnaround business when things are going south.
Veterans from the 1980s, we honed our skills based on Andy Grove’s Management by Objectives and Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. We entered the 90s as the only women at the management table in high finance, technology, and the board room. We didn’t just climb the ladder but diligently fought to open doors for the next generation. Our experience managing change during the Dot.Com bust, and the Great Recession is our greatest value, because we are seasoned professionals who are adept at managing complexity both on the job and at home.
Process driven, we are determined to make a difference. Executive coach Carol Stewart sums it up well. She writes women are “comfortable in their own skin, more resilient, don’t party on school nights” and most significant, “They are more likely to do the job because it’s what they want.”
Today, mid-career female professionals have meticulously networked. We bring an army of supporters and a generous professional network to our roles. Organizations like Chief, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting executive women leaders, maintain dynamic groups who sharing information, contacts, and resources. Women Corporate Directors provides women training on the latest trends in ESG, governance and fiduciary requirements.
To ensure the economic stakeholders survive the next few years, it is incumbent on employers and job seekers to “up their game” together.
Cindy Machles, Chief member, and co-founder of Glue, a top 20 NY agency, provided a few tips for women job seekers:
- Leverage your network. Connections care more about your experience than your age.
- Address any meaningful technology gaps and come to the table more prepared.
- Talk to industry insiders to hone your messaging to what’s most relevant and important given today’s trends.
- Shorten your resume to what matters and use keywords to align to opportunities.
Another “50+” new hire at a large gig economy player now works for someone 20 years her junior. She enjoys blending her years of experience with the latest trends to meet business needs. When I asked how she did it, she noted: “I hired a professional resume writing service who had experience in developing resumes and bios that don’t make folks sound ancient. They didn’t just take my graduation dates off; they also wrote it for the modern era!”
In return, employers should maximize intergenerational team cohesion:
- Create reverse mentoring programs that empower the employees across the generational divide to ideate and blend the best of 1980s management practices with new technology and trends.
- Enable multigenerational teams to co-create flexible work solutions that allow them to support each other when life pressures can be overwhelming: childbearing, personal health crisis, burnout, and elder care.
- Focus energy on what people have in common instead of what makes them different. Respect for the individual is critical but can only be attained through an alignment of incentives and interests.
As we help each other bridge the gaps, employers and employees will learn to support one another in unexpected ways. Internal teams will learn that they aren’t competitors for limited resources and promotions but are instead interdependent partners working together to optimize the on-ramps and off-ramps of life.
Written by Lisa gable.
Have you read?
Three Priorities for Small and Medium Businesses in 2023 by Ben Schreiner.
Equality between men and women in the workplace: will we ever achieve it by Riccardo Pandini.
Should Marketing Get a Free Pass on ROI by Jim Everhart.
Do You Get Triggered in Business by Sarah Cordiner.
The Ins and Outs of Creating a Purpose-Driven Company by Bryan Adams.
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