Teachers Quitting. Companies Hot to Hire Them… Older job seekers face record-high roadblock: Age discrimination…

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Burned out teachers are leaving the classroom for jobs in the private sector, where talent-hungry companies are hiring them—and often boosting their pay—to work in sales, software, healthcare and training, among other fields.

The rate of people quitting jobs in education rose more than in any other industry in 2021, according to federal data. Many of those are teachers exhausted from toggling between online and classroom teaching, shifting Covid-19 protocols and dealing with challenging students, parents and administrators. Teachers started leaving classrooms in 2020 when the pandemic upended education and child care, and the number of educators who quit accelerated in 2021, with nearly 550,000 people resigning from their school jobs between January and November, federal data shows. According to LinkedIn, the share of teachers on the site who left for a new career increased by 62% last year.


The Great Resignation is also becoming the Great Reshuffle, with many older Americans who may have retired earlier than planned because of the pandemic re-entering the workforce, or older retirees realizing their skills are in demand because of the talent shortage.

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Decades of experience now trump a diploma, according to a survey by AARP.

It found 76% of employers surveyed prioritize skills over education attainment when hiring. That’s good news for older professionals.

“Older workers have those skills. They’ve been in the workforce a long time. Employers enjoy the soft skills that older workers have like professionalism, work ethic, management, leadership, problem solving, calm under pressure, all really important soft skills that employers tell us they really value in older workers,” said Susan Weinstock, AARP vice president of financial resilience programming.

But there is a red flag in the Great Reshuffle. While most professionals in their 50s and 60s may not consider themselves out-to-pasture age, AARP says many re-entering the job market or looking to advance are facing record-high age discrimination.

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