Gen Plus: Dissolving Age Boundaries

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Anywhere from 1.3 to 2 million new jobs are predicted for 2006, and everyone, from marketers to economists, is gearing up for a feeding frenzy similar to the one that heralded the era. Everyone, that is, except the 40 million or so baby boomers older than 50 this year.

Anywhere from 1.3 to 2 million new jobs are predicted for 2006, and everyone, from marketers to economists, is gearing up for a feeding frenzy similar to the one that heralded the era. Everyone, that is, except the 40 million or so baby boomers older than 50 this year. In fact, by 2012, all 78 million boomers will have already turned 50. But here’s the dilemma: Ageism still exists in the North American marketplace and magically rears its ugly head around 50. Just as the last boomers are leaving the marketplace in droves whether they want to or not, there will be massive job openings that the younger generation will be unable to fill.

Headquartered in California, Gen Plus,™ ( a web-based organization focused on services relevant to 50 plussers, is trying to reeducate employers and, at the same time, build the confidence of those over 50 that they have a well-earned place in the workforce. The Gen Plus™ user-friendly resumé posting and jobsearch model, combined with an online cyber-interview, positions 50 plus jobseekers exactly as they are… experienced and older than 50.

As Wendy Spiegel, Gen Plus™ founder, explains, “There is still such rampant ageism that 50 plus jobseekers are going to have to be creative, inventive, and aggressive to keep or get their foot in the door – despite the anticipated surge in job openings and shortfall in managers.”

Take Diane (not her real name), for example. At 52, an experienced professional with over 20 years of diverse experience in management, strategic planning, and communications, she suddenly found herself laid off. And she was aware it was due to her high salary. With a background that included marketing for a retail solutions company and a leading airline, she was confident her experience would land her a new position quickly. After a disheartening year of unsuccessfully looking for a new employment opportunity, she had no choice but to start her own small business and change many of her lifestyle arrangements. A homeowner, she rented out two rooms to help cover mortgage payments and augment the income she earns from her business. Would Diane take advantage of a new employment opportunity? In a heartbeat. But she, like many of her peers, knows that unless a company is willing to invest in an over 50 candidate, she is going to have to make her new venture work.

“How can a talented manager find herself unemployed in the face of statistics that show skilled people will be needed?” Diane asks. “Our society is still redefining what constitutes a market, and who, exactly, is employable in an aging world.”

Spiegel comments further, “There is such confusion in how to market to 50 plus! Marketers generally target societal segments. But the huge demographic shift of our aging world is turning all these segments on their heads. The boomers span an age range of almost two decades, each with very particular needs: There are early boomers, born 1946-51; mid-boomers, born 1952-57; and late boomers, born 1958- 1964. In other words, either they are solidly in their 40’s (pre-mid-life crisis), or currently around 50 (true mid-life crisis) or, this year, are just turning 60 (to retire or not to retire? -- that is the question).

“Now it really gets confusing. There are the pre-retirees, the active retirees, the true seniors (also called the older-old, which really ticks them off), and all the blurred lines in between. ‘Golden-ager’ seems like a term used centuries ago, ‘senior citizen’ has become meaningless, and even 50 plus organizations are reshaping taglines and trying to reach out to the younger boomers! And, not to get anyone’s knickers in a knot, who are all the folks who are generally charged with creative design and marketing to these boomers and beyond? The young-young, of course.”

If it’s confusing to marketers, people who find themselves chronologically within these pragmatic boundaries are equally frustrated. Gen Plus™ doesn’t distinguish between the different categories of boomers. If you’re over 50, you are a Gen Plusser. The company aims at demystifying the market in order to address what a reinvented 50 plus really needs.

As Spiegel notes, “Employers have to be looking beyond this year’s bottom line to five, ten, fifteen years ahead in order to save their businesses from a potential employment drought. They need to challenge their current employment practices now in order to be ready for the future. There will be no youth culture in the workplace if there are no senior mentors to show younger workers the way, to preserve company historical knowledge, and to manage the companies of the 21st century.”

50 plus jobseekers are invited to visit Gen Plus™ at Interested human resource professionals can follow the employer link. Local media can contact Gen Plus™ for information specific to their community.

Public Relations Contact: Corinne Copnick

818.345.1531 or 877.939.7483

Gen Plus™• 5625 Ostrom Avenue Encino CA 91316 • 818.345.1531/877.939.7483


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