Support for Older Job Seekers in this time of COVID-19 pandemic

The Situation facing older working age people has got worse since the arrival of COVID 19 and looks to be getting worse very soon. For those 330,000+ over 50s who were registered as unemployed in March there have been at least another 130,000 added to the books. As everyone in this situation knows the amount of financial support is very low and hard to live on. It has been a long and hard process for people to be able to claim their benefits and make sure they are being paid the correct amount. As the DWP already had limited staff  numbers and most  all are working from home, the response times have often been very slow. These problems are likely to get worse as there are likely to be over a million people who will no longer be eligible for support through the furlough scheme and most do not look as though their employers will re-hire them. In addition the support for self employed workers (of whom many are over 50) is also drawing to a close. Older workers over 50 have been (along with younger under 25 year olds) been in the forefront of these lay offs, particularly those working in lower skilled and less secure jobs. It is also a reality that the older people are the less likely it is that you will be able to get another job soon.But there is some hope and our experience over the last 20 years has been that it is possible for older people to use their skills, experiences, work ethic and team spirit to find workOn top of all this for those of you desperate to find work and get support there are few jobs offered and little practical support available. Therefore we at Wise Age despite working from home want to offer some useful support and advice about what you can do to find a job from home.

1) There are still jobs out there. Supermarkets are still looking for staff, so go onto all the supermarket’s websites, look for their jobs section, see what’s on offer and send in your CV or fill in their online application. Equally, there are vacancies for NHS support staff, care home workers, security, driving and delivery jobs. These are likely to be at present temporary but once in work it is far easier to then get fully hired and employers prefer people who are currently or recently working. Only apply if you are fit and well and remember to keep your social distancing, only go out for shopping, medical needs or ½ hour exercise or for a job interview( it is likely that the first interview will be by phone or online).

2) Go on to our For Seniors section and click on our “Find A Job” portal. There are links to around 70 different employer and recruitment sites, with some specialist sites.

3) Prepare and practice for phone or on-line interviews and if you are given time please make sure you read the job description and person specification so you can prepare your answers with relevant reference to past experiences.

4) When making applications or submitting CVs match your profile to the keywords in the job advert, make sure in your previous work you refer to as many of the key tasks that they want you to perform now as part of your summary of skills in your past jobs. Do not apply for jobs unless you match all or nearly all of their key Essential Requirements.  Make sure that you refer with examples to these personal attributes that they say they want candidates to have – such as good customer skills, attention to detail, ability to work in a team and to work on your own.

5) These are the benefits you have to offer to employers as an older worker: experience, wisdom, work ethic, customer care, ability to get on with staff, customers and management, and matching the profile of the largest and rising group of customers for any business- the over 50s or silver economy. 

6) These are the prejudices you are likely to face from ageist employers and recruitment agencies. Be aware of them and have your answers ready. Unmotivated, just waiting to retire; no understanding of IT, overqualified, a threat to younger managers, ill-health.

7) There are far more benefits you can offer and ways to counter myths which we can send you on request. 

8) See the good practice templates and advice we offer in our For Seniors Section, in particular, we are now putting online the first of our training presentations.

Advice for Self Employed from HMRC – https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHMRCED/bulletins/289089d

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Stay At Home

Staying at home unless it's necessary, working from home if possible, minimising use of public transport is important.

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds. When water & soap aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Monitor For Symptoms

The full list of Coronavirus symptoms is available here: https://www.google.com/search?q=covid-19+symptoms. You should monitor yourself to catch the warning signs early.

Wear A Mask Out

When going out into public spaces, ensure to wear a mask which covers both your mouth, and your nose. This is now a legal requirement in many enclosed spaces.

Social Distance

Respect social distancing wherever possible, ideally with a 2-metre distance, or 1 metre when necessary.

Keep Informed

Ensure you keep up to date with the latest information & regulations.

Stay Safe As An Older Person

Wise Age supports the need for ongoing vigilance against the COVID 19 virus which as the experts tell us has NOT GONE AWAY and risks a return. We agree that the best advice is coming from the health and scientific experts. Here is the link to the NHS guidance https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and to the government’s current advice www.gov.uk/coronavirus.  

While we welcome the opening up of society and the economy it MUST be done in a way that is safe for all. We do not agree with an ageist approach towards restricting freedoms for people just based on age, whether it is starting at 50, 60 or 70. What is required is further focused research on the levels of risk that particular individuals face and for their safety to be paramount. 

The key risk factors that need to be considered on the basis of health and scientific research to date indicates that those with underlying health conditions – including diabetes, obesity are most at risk, that BAME seniors have higher risk and should be protected at work and elsewhere, the older you are  after 60, 70 and 80  the higher the risk where  these other conditions apply, men are more at risk than women and those in poverty, those living in overcrowded housing  are  all higher risk categories as well as those in the front line of NHS, and care provision as well as other public facing workers like in  public transport, super markets and retail outlets. This is complex and requires clear risk evaluations and then followed by appropriate risk reduction at places of work, and in shared closed spaces.
 
The NHS and health experts said at the beginning there should not be restrictions based just on age but it is the duty of the government, employers and us all to maintain basic safety measures for all.

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS:

  • Stay Isolated.
  • Order a coronavirus test here.
  •  Monitor your symptoms.
  • Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION

 

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 999: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.