Today’s job market has thrown workers of all ages for a loop, but a new CareerBuilder study reveals that mature workers, age 55 and older, have been hit particularly hard. Only 28 percent of workers in that demographic have found work within 12 months of being laid off, compared to 71 percent of workers aged 25-34. As a result, older workers are expanding their job search to entry-level positions, internships, relocation and other options to secure gainful employment – and employers are open to it.
“Mature workers offer a wealth of knowledge and experience that has translated into a significant competitive advantage for employers,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Employers are considering mature job candidates for a variety of positions ranging from entry-level to senior-level to consultants to leverage their intellectual capital and mentor other workers. Twenty-nine percent of employers have hired a worker age 50 or older for a permanent position within their organization over the last six months.”
Sixty-three percent of workers age 55 and older who were laid off in the last 12 months said they have applied for jobs below the level at which they were previously employed. But, the major issue that seasoned job seekers face in their job search is being deemed as “overqualified” for a position. Employers assume that because they have experience, older workers will be dissatisfied with their pay; bored/unmotivated in the position; or, they’ll leave the second a better job comes along. Forty-four percent of workers age 55 and older have been told they are overqualified, according to the survey.
Despite being told they’re overqualified, mature workers have to do something to get their foot in the door, so now, they’re competing with recent college graduates and other new entrants to the work force for entry-level positions.
- 26 percent of employers have received applications from workers over the age of 50 (whom aren’t retired) for entry-level jobs
- 11 percent have received entry-level applications from retirees
- 65 percent of employers said they would consider experienced candidates who apply for jobs for which they’re overqualified
Internships are another avenue mature workers are exploring in their job search: 7 percent of employers said that mature workers have applied for internships at their organizations.
- Four percent of employers have hired mature workers
- 55 percent would be willing to consider mature workers for internships
Moving to a new city is another option for some older workers: 41 percent of those who were laid off in the last 12 months and did not find a new job stated they would consider relocating to another city or state to find employment.
As a result of the challenging job market, many older workers have opted to start their own businesses: 23 percent of mature workers who were laid off in the last 12 months and haven’t found a job are considering starting their own business.
Employers are also receiving requests from staff members to stay with the company longer. Twenty-one percent of employers said that in the past six months, current employees approaching retirement age have asked them to postpone their retirement. Of that 21 percent, the vast majority (86 percent) said their organizations are open to postponing retirements, pointing to the following benefits:
- Employers want to hold on to their intellectual capital (65 percent)
- Mature workers can help train and mentor others (61 percent)
- Mature workers know how to weather a tough economy (42 percent)
- Employers have more time to transition responsibilities (36 percent)
For more information on mature workers, visit PrimeCB.com, CareerBuilder’s job search site tailored for mature workers and retirees.