Mature Workers Expanding Job Search

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Couple reading paperToday’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.”

Overqualified
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.

Starting over
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
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

Relocation
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.

Entrepreneurship
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.

Postponing retirement
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.

he majority (63 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
19 Comments
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  10. I’m looking for some advice from some more seasoned workers who have the experience to know. I am 25 years old with a trade certificate in Information Technology from a vocational high school in 2003 and havn’t used it since. I worked a few automotive jobs as an uncertified mechanic and parts counter sales for little pay but I loved what I was doing. When I was 20 I fell into a job as a Drop Forge Operator in a factory forging steel which I have been at for 5 years. It’s a union job, 1′st shift, making $17.41/hr plus overtime, health/dental/life insurance, 2 weeks vacation, matching 401k & a pension. Plus it’s a relatively low stress job and I love my boss. My dilema is my job does have a lot to offer but there are not many factories in my area with Drop Forge Machinery and I don’t have any other skills. I fear that if my company eventually closes or outsources that I will find myself older and unskilled making it very difficult to find a good job. Especially as I get older as I know age discrimination is all over the place. Should I get into a new line of work while I’m young enough and most likely take a hit in pay and benefits so I can have a more secure career or should I just take the $$$ now, build up my pension, and worry about it when it happens? I have considered night classes, however if I stay at my current job for too many years my training will be outdated (like my IT cert) so there is no point if I stay at my job. What would you do?

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  17. Hi Carguy,

    There are some things that you can train for and/or go to school for at night that will not be outdated. Mostly it is technology that becomes outdated, not other types of degrees.

    If you love your job, I recommend you stay and take some other classes at night as you stated was an option for you. Getting a degree in Social work will never be outdated and social services is expected to grown a lot in the next decade. Also, there will be a shortage of management for these non-profits and some of them (executive directors) make six figures! Also, becoming a CPA (if you like numbers) will get you a great job that will always hold you in good stead!

    Good luck whatever you decide! You are one smart cookie for just thinking ahead like this!!

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