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WHO you know, not WHAT you know

WHO you know, not WHAT you know, is key asset for job hunters
Edinburgh Napier research reveals differences between the generations in looking for work
Research from Edinburgh Napier Universitys Employment Research Institute has proved the age-old theory that its who you know that is important for job hunters.
The new research into the power of social networks reveals that the more employed friends you have, the higher their job status, and the stronger your ties with them, the more likely you are to get a job yourself.
The study indicates that younger people (under 50) in employment have a significantly higher number of contacts and more regular interaction within their social networks compared to the 50 age group. This offers a wider diversity, strength and quality of contacts.
Conversely, the findings show that people over 50, who generally have fewer qualifications, rely more heavily on their smaller social networks and word of mouth to get back into or remain in employment.
For the younger generation, the number of people they know overall is more important than whether those they know are employed or hold senior positions. Unemployed younger people also have much smaller long-term social networks than those in work and relatively fewer contacts who were in employment.
Dr Kaberi Gayen, Visiting Researcher at Edinburgh Napier Employment Research Institute and co-author of the research said: With tight budgets and a tough economy, there are less jobs being advertised and organisations are increasingly seeking the most cost effective recruitment methods. The who you know theory, is as important as ever in the job hunt. Younger people tend to have wider networks which could be due to their greater use of new information and communication technologies.
Over 50s are the age group that is most likely to be out of employment. With the current ageing population it is especially important to reduce barriers to older workers employment. With employers using social networks in hiring, unemployed older people may remain out of this searching process and thereby out of work. Employment agencies, including Job Centre Plus, have a responsibility to support and introduce older unemployed people to job opportunities.

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