Recently, I had this exchange with a LinkedIn follower...
Millennials now make up over 50 percent of the workforce and this will rise to 75 percent in a matter of years. The oldest ones are in their thirties. They've built their skills up enough to be useful AND affordable. Which means, the increased supply of cheaper talent is going to drop the demand for seasoned workers. I call this, "experience discrimination" - and it's going to hit hard in the coming years. As a result, anyone over the age of 40 should ask themselves, "What have I done to prepare myself for the eventual shift in where I fall in the supply and demand talent curve?"
Age discrimination is illegal, but outsourcing is not.
Now, you may be thinking, "that's age discrimination." And yes, there is legislation for age discrimination, here's what the law states:
It shall be unlawful for an employer -
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's age;....
However, by eliminating his position and choosing to outsource the work entirely, they are covering their bases. Studies show outsourcing of key business functions is on the rise across all industries. And, if they let other people go, then it's even harder to prove. Not to mention, people who sue former employers often struggle to get hired later on because future employers view them as litigious. In short, it's a tough battle to fight.
Our careers don't always stay on an upward trajectory.
Like it or not, we've all heard the phrase, "Out with the old and in with the new." When seasoned workers fail to make sure they're providing the greatest value for the money to their employer, they risk having their roles outsourced. We are all businesses-of-one. The employer is the client. It is up to you to make sure the ROI the employer is getting justifies what you're getting paid.
Now, for the good news...
Some of those folks in their fifties and sixties who have had their jobs outsourced have become freelancers. As a result, they're now setting their own hours, making more money in less time, and diversifying their income sources across several clients to ensure they never are without work. One of the advantages of being a experienced professional is you know how to work smarter, not harder. For those in this position, I encourage you to see this as an opportunity to leverage your expertise and build up your own personal brand. Being laid-off later in life can be the best thing that ever happened to you. It's up to you to make it happen.