When it comes to reentering the workforce after a bout of unemployment, the reality for many older workers is that they may make less money in their next job.
In the recent survey "The Long Road Back: Struggling to Find Work After Unemployment," the AARP Public Policy Institute found that almost half of people ages 45 to 64 who were unemployed for some time during the past five years are making less than they used to.
There's no sugarcoating it: The truth is, a younger, less experienced worker may not balk at a salary that to you seems insulting and a deep cut from what you earned in your last position.
If you've been out of work for a while, you may need to rethink your make-it-or-break-it salary requirements and be honest about what number is going to work for you right now. Here are four things to factor in when synching up your salary expectations with a new job.
You're making a career switch.
One of the hardest obstacles older workers have is dealing with bias from human resource professionals who don't believe you will work for less. When you're changing careers to follow a passion, for example, it makes sense to an employer that if you don't have experience in that field, you will not resent working for less — at least to start.
Interestingly, career change was a common occurrence among the reemployed. More than half of respondents (53 percent) had an occupation different from the one they had before becoming unemployed, according to the AARP survey.
Meantime, 82 percent of respondents to a survey released last year by the American Institute for Economic Research reported making a successful transition to a new career after age 45. Of those respondents who reported that they initially took pay cuts, half of them saw an increase in pay over time after "a period of hard work and persistence."
You're ready to step back.
Do some soul-searching and be honest with yourself. Are you OK making less, for example, if you no longer want to be in a prestigious management position?