Hurdles in your job transition-Your responses were eye-opening

Almost 3 weeks ago I posted a question on LinkedIn regarding hurdles people must overcome in their job search or career change.  Thanks to the openness of many  I have gotten some great feedback that I will share with you over the next several posts.  I must say that some of the comments were from the heart and many of them were also very pointed and specific in their nature.  Employers could learn many good things regarding what to do more of and what to do less of based on these comments.  Let’s take a look at some of the issues people are facing.

One of the most common hurdles listed is the AGE of the job seeker.  I have to say that this economic downturn or “recession” has been especially hard on those over the age of 40 and especially on those over 50 years of age.  I would estimate that over 25% of those who responded cited age as a factor in their difficulty in finding a job, an issue that is certainly not legal if it is the only issue used in making the hiring    decision.

Why would an employer choose to avoid a candidate over a certain age?  Here are a few guesses I have:

  • The candidate may not work as hard as a younger person
  • The older candidate may have health issues
  • Older candidates may be over qualified

Why should an employer choose to look more closely at an older candidate?  Try these on for size:

  • Older candidates are more knowledgeable about the ways of the workplace
  • Experienced candidates may take less time to get up to speed
  • Older candidates typically do not have issues with young children getting sick or dealing with school issues
  • Older candidates understand how to “pace” themselves
  • Experienced candidates will usually make more logical and rational decisions in their personal and work life

I’ll talk more about this in the next post this week, but lets see what others are saying about older workers in the workforce.

A Newsweek article from last October states that there has been a 17% jump in age-discrimination complaints since the recession began in 2007.  Older workers have    experienced a 330% increase in unemployment in the 2000’s according to AARP based on a March 2010 article.  Many of the age discrimination cases mentioned in the Newsweek article involved termination issues, but discrimination in hiring is also becoming more prevalent. the Supreme Court made things more difficult for older workers in 2009 by making it such that workers must prove age was the only factor used in making a decision, a tough issue to deal with.  AARP is supporting legislation to reverse this trend, but things are still very tough.

We’ll talk more this week about how to deal with this age issue as well as other career hurdles.