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.
Solving the challenges that face midcareer job seekers and workers will require a number of initiatives. The report proposes four starting points.
- 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.
- Linking training programs directly to employment opportunities and providing stipends to support age 45+ individuals who are hesitant to engage in training.
- 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.
- Rethinking current employer training approaches to make it easier to fill new roles with existing age 45+ employees, versus relying solely on new hires.