I often speak to people looking for careers advice who complain that they can’t find a job because they are too old; rather alarmingly some of these people are in their forties.
Like many people, I’ve always assumed that as you get older, it gets harder to find a job. However, my perception of the job market has been turned on its head this week with a report compiled by Citi which shows that the largest growth in employment is actually in the over-50s age group.
It seems that employers really do value the experience and stability ofolder employees. Figures from the Office for National Statisticsshow that 93pc of the jobs increase in the last 10 years has been among the over-50s – a rise of 1.5m people. In contrast, employment for those under 50 has only increased by 0.6pc – or 120,000 jobs – in the last decade.
These figures do seem to be very good news for job seekers in the over 50 age bracket. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that there are agencies and employers out there that discriminate against older workers and for the many job hunters in their fifties who are really struggling to find a job. In this very tough labour market these statistics will be cold comfort.
But do remember that rejection is not always about age and while some job hunters will feel that that they have faced discrimination, I believe that this is still the exception.
I regularly hear from employers (and recruitment agencies) who genuinely do respect age and experience. I recently spoke to a project manager who is 68 and has absolutely no intention of retiring. He’s just completed a six-month contract installing a state-of-the-art data centre for an investment bank; he is clearly hugely experienced, loves his work and is still full of energy. Why wouldn’t an employer snap up someone like that?
If you are concerned about age discrimination then have a look at thisexcellent advice on how to maximise your chances of finding work when you are over 50, compiled by a number of industry experts, good advice and well worth reading.
Remember the law says that you do not need to state your age on a CV or provide that information at interviews.
You are sometimes asked to provide your date of birth on job application forms for statistical purposes and in fact many enlightened employers are now using forms which state that all of the “personal data” including age, ethnicity, marital status and even your name are actually separated from the job application.
Recruiters then shortlist purely on the basis of your experience and cannot be influenced by any of these personal factors.
With the exception of a few jobs where age can be a legitimate reason to exclude older candidates (i.e. commercial pilots) there is no reason why you can’t keep working for as long as you wish. Don’t assume that employers will discriminate, some do but there’s now clear evidence to show that many don’t.