TORONTO — It’s become harder for workers 45 years and older to secure jobs, according to a new study. Hiring managers perceived mid-career job seekers as having weaker skills compared to younger candidates, despite the former often outperforming the latter.
Generation, a non-profit organization who conducted the study, found “the most overlooked employee bracket” are Gen-Xers – born in the mid-1960s to early-1980s – and older. They found this was a consistent trend among several different countries, including the U.K. and the U.S.
According to study, 63 per cent of job seekers aged 45 and older have been unemployed for more than a year — versus only one in three of workers aged 18 to 24 in the same boat.
And mid-career workers who self-identified as an “underrepresented community” in their country felt they had to jump through more hoops during the hiring process.
This group said they had to engage in 53 percent more interviews to get a job offer — compared to only 31 percent of their younger peers feeling that.
Researchers conducted surveys between March and May 2021 in Brazil, India, Italy, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They received 3,800 responses from employed and unemployed people and 1,400 replies from hiring managers.
PERCEPTION OLDER JOB SEEKERS WON’T LEARN NEW SKILLS
Older workers being unemployed in the long-term is a huge concern for researchers.
When looking at statistics since 2015, authors note people aged 45 and older have consistently made up between 40 to 70 per cent of the long-term unemployed in countries such as Canada, Singapore, Spain, and the United States.
The study found hiring managers showed strong bias against older job seekers, with them believing that “younger candidates are more application-ready, have more relevant experience, and are a better fit with company culture.”
They also believed older, mid-career workers were reluctant to learn new skills.
EMPLOYERS PRAISED WORKERS AGED 45+
But employers who had experience working with older workers told a different story.
Managers reported 87 per cent of their employees aged 45 or older were as good, if not better, than younger cohorts, with the study results showing nine out of 10 of older workers had potential to stay at their firms long-term.
However, training was key to the success of these would-be hires. The study found 74 per cent of mid-career switchers felt training was key to them landing a new job.
But unfortunately, the study found about six out of 10 employees 45 and older weren’t excited about training.
Researchers note this is unfortunate given that 71 per cent of those reluctant towards training make just enough income — or not enough — to meet their daily needs.
To help address some of trends highlighted in study, authors called on national governments, who haven’t already, to release statistics unemployment figures with narrower age brackets; and they called on policymakers to provide more stipends for employees aged 45 and older to get new training.