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Getting Boomers Back To Work

Job Losses
Job Losses

Next week we will learn the official government unemployment number for October and it’s likely to be above 10%.

So even as the stock market has been climbing and some banks have been reporting strong results, more and more Americans are getting pushed out of work.

And while the Obama Administration has promised more jobs via various stimulus programs, most of those positions have been in construction, education and health care.

Where does that leave thousands of managers and executives? Unemployed – that’s where.

Career coaches and search firms report an unprecedented number of highly qualified, very talented professionals who have been dislocated from their white collar jobs in the past two years.

Many have been unemployed for 18-24 months – virtually unheard of in the U.S. Economy in our lifetime. Some have 25 or even 30 years experience in sales, human resources, engineering, marketing, journalism or general management.

The unemployment among professionals and executives has almost doubled in the past year, so not surprisingly, traffic at workforce training centers and employment seminars has more than doubled too. These folks have drained savings, dipped into 401(k) plans, and in some instances settled for lower paying temporary jobs while they look for positions at their levels.

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My question is: what will the Obama Administration actually do about this issue?

Given the “new normal” – it’s unlikely the private sector will rehire even 50% of these people in the next five years. But having this force be unemployed or under-employed is a terrible waste of talent, especially at such a crucial time in our nation’s history.

I suggest that the President openly embrace this as an issue of importance and form a commission of public and private sector leaders to devise solutions. It’s not only the right thing to do, it might also be politically wise given the size and potential activism of the Boomer Generation.

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Erik Sorenson is CEO of Vault, the Web’s most comprehensive resource for career management and job search intelligence. Vault provides top talent with the insider information they need to make critical career decisions. An Emmy award-winning media industry veteran, Erik served as president of the MSNBC cable news channel through 2004. His experience spans radio, local and network broadcast television, cable and syndicated TV, and the Web.

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