If you're like every other head of a business right now, you're looking for top talent. And it's hard to find. Unemployment is 3.7 percent nationally. In New York City it's 4.3 percent, and in San Francisco it's an incredible 2.2 percent. You're doing everything you can think of to attract great candidates, but it's an uphill climb.
The Untapped Talent Pool
So what if I told you there was a pool of talent out there just waiting to be tapped? They're educated, experienced, and ready to work hard. They might be sending you resumes, but they're getting screened out because of long employment gaps. Or they're afraid to apply in the first place because of those gaps. Or maybe they just don't know how to find you.
I'm talking about older women, Generation Xers in their 40s and 50s, who may have downsized their careers or left the workplace entirely for several years to raise families. This group is unlike any older women we've known before. Unlike their mothers and grandmothers, this is a generation of women with advanced degrees and work experience. Many of them put off families until they were well-established in their careers. They know how to work.
How To Find GenX Women
Besides the obvious benefits of hiring diverse talent, Generation X women are a demographic inevitability. Another 10,000 Baby Boomers hit retirement age every day, and the giant millennial generation is already a third of the workforce. Generation X, and women in particular, may soon be among the only workers available.
But how do you find these non-traditional candidates? Start by looking long and hard at your own biases around age and hiring. What assumptions are you or your teams making? Just as with race and gender, attitudes about age make up the culture of a workplace. And just as with other types of diversity, teams that are inter-generationally diverse are more effective and innovative. Continually work on creating a more inclusive, welcoming culture.
Learn more about the methodology you, or your recruiting partners, are using to screen resumes. Take a look through the ones you reject and see if there's an inherent bias for age or career interruptions. Your algorithms could be missing a lot of potentially great candidates.
Remember that women are less likely than men to apply for positions if they don't think they meet every requirement - this is even more true of older women. So watch how you present your job descriptions. Hire for motivation not experience. Individual skills can be taught, but integrity is built in.