What role does age discrimination play in shaping the decisions of older entrepreneurs to go out on their own?
The question is an interesting one, given the rise of older business owners and the impact the oldest among us is having on the small-business landscape across the United States.
As seen in the recent post, The Senior Startup: Tales from the Second Act, there are countless examples of older entrepreneurs that have had a transformational impact on their industries and communities.
The State of Ageism in the Workplace
In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw nearly 21,000 age-related complaints filed, nearly 50 years after laws designed to protect older Americans from such behaviors were enacted. That number has doubled from 20 years ago. Companies paid $88.2 million in benefits to address age discrimination cases, with the average settlement at $26,600.
In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers sent more than 40,000 resumes to more than 13,000 job postings listed online in 12 cities. The researchers created three sets of resumes, representing young (ages 29-31), middle-aged (49-51), and senior (64-66) applicants, with similar skills. Older fictional male and female candidates received far fewer callbacks for positions in administrative, sales, and blue-collar positions.
Despite the seemingly dire statistics, there is growing evidence that older entrepreneurs are a burgeoning growth area. The Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Index shows that among new entrepreneurs, those over 55 now represent 24.3 percent of the total, compared to just 14.8 percent 20 years ago.
There is no right age to begin a startup venture. While many older workers may be intimidated by the technical abilities and comfortable familiarity of those younger members of the workforce, there is no need to avoid a startup simply based on whether you qualify for senior discounts at your local coffee shop. Here are some helpful tips for those seniors thinking about making the leap:
At Benetrends, we help older entrepreneurs with startup funding strategies. Our innovative methods leverage existing 401(k) and IRA funds to fuel entrepreneurial dreams. To see how Benetrends can help finance your startup, download Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.
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