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Survey: Unemployed Aged 45 and Above Face Ageism and Career Challenges Globally

Meeting The World’s Midcareer Challenge, shows that people age 45+ face persistent and rising pressure in the global job market, and their age is one of the greatest barriers to their finding a job, with 71% of current seekers seeing their age as a major obstacle. Those from underrepresented communities face even greater hurdles:  they engage in 53 percent more interviews than their peers to get a job offer.

The research also finds strong evidence that perceptions of ageism are well-founded. Hiring managers hold negative perceptions of age 45+ job candidates, stating that only 17% are application ready, 18% have relevant skills or experience, and 15% have the right fit with company culture.

However, these perceptions are disconnected from reality, and the same hiring managers who expressed concerns about midcareer candidates acknowledge that 87% of their age 45+ hires perform on the job as good as, or better, than younger employees. The research also finds that hiring managers say that 90% of their age 45+ employees have as much or more potential to stay with a company over the long term in comparison to younger peers.

The survey shows that training works: across the seven countries, 74% of midcareers who have successfully switched to a new career see the skills they learned in training as being instrumental in securing new jobs. And 3 in 4 employers point to training and certifications as providing the equivalent of relevant experience when hiring.

Yet, the age 45+ unemployed whose job prospects would most benefit from training are the most hesitant to pursue it; 57% express reluctance and only 1% say that training increases their confidence while looking for jobs. This group of age 45+ job seekers would most benefit from training — 70% of them struggle to meet daily needs and 63% have a secondary school education or less. Possible reasons for this belief include the perception that training is a luxury they can’t afford or negative past experiences with formal education.

Key recommendations:

Solving the challenges that face midcareer job seekers and workers will require a number of initiatives. The report proposes four starting points.

  1. Improving national and global employment statistic tracking and reporting to reflect narrower age brackets that better illuminate the unique issues faced by the 45+ population.
  2. Linking training programs directly to employment opportunities and providing stipends to support age 45+ individuals who are hesitant to engage in training.
  3. Changing hiring practices to suppress potential age biases and better assess the potential of age 45+ job candidates by allowing them to show their skills through demonstration-based exercises.
  4. Rethinking current employer training approaches to make it easier to fill new roles with existing age 45+ employees, versus relying solely on new hires.

SOURCE Generation