Panelists at the Nov. 19 Cedar Rapids forum on Navigating the Workplace After 50, discussed tips and advice for those hoping to reenter the workforce later in life.

The job market is changing for those over age 50, both in terms of salary paid and skills needed, requiring rethinking the workplace for those over 50.

Many older Iowans entered the workforce at a time when the expectation was that you work and work in a field and then retire, said Brian Kaskie, University of Iowa associate professor of health management and policy. But that narrative is changing, in part due to longer lifespans.

“So what’s happened in the workforce is that as you stayed in those positions your salary and benefits kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So the employers’ response has been to get rid of those positions,” he said.

Kaskie suggested those reentering the workforce might need to consider pay cuts and may need to brush up on skills.

Kim Wright Jones, 57, lost her job as the AIB College of Business women’s softball coach after the University of Iowa acquired the college and dropped its athletic programs this spring. In addition to coaching, Wright Jones also has a graphic design and marketing communications background. She said explaining this mix of skills to potential employers was a challenge.

“For me to transition right from heading up a softball program back into the workforce, it was a little more difficult for me to find places where people would allow me to actually meet them face to face and allow me to nuance some of my experience,” she said.

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