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Older workers valued but still struggle to find new employment

A study from CV-Library has revealed that the majority of UK professionals believe older workers make a valuable contribution to UK businesses. Yet despite this, many struggle to find new employment.

Ahead of National Older People’s Day, taking place today, the job site conducted research amongst a cross-section of over 2,400 UK employees aged between 18-70 to ascertain how they felt about mature professionals in the workplace. Findings revealed an overwhelming sense respect:

• 92.2% of workers believe older workers make a valuable contribution to UK businesses

• 76.6% of staff believe that older workers bring years of experience and knowledge to an organisation that can’t be found in a younger worker

• 92.7% of workers believe the mature staff should still be able to excel in the workplace

• Almost half of professionals (48.5%) only consider someone to be an older worker once they are 60

However, despite receiving an overwhelming sense of respect from the UK workforce, it seems that the same regard is not echoed by businesses. When asked to explain key issues on age in relation to work, seeking new employment was the most common concern, with almost half (46%) of 55-64 year olds considering age to be a hindrance. 

• “I'm 60, and despite years of experience in all aspects of office administration, I cannot even get a job as a filing clerk. I have got six years before I can retire! Why can't I get a job? I'm not going to drop dead at my desk (I hope).” (Judy, 55-64, North West)

• The reason I have been turned down for just about all the jobs I have applied for is because of my age.” (Pete, 55-64, North West)

• “Permanent positions are hard to find for people over 55 even though they have experience and skills that can help companies.” (Matthew, 55-64, East Anglia)

Similar feelings were also revealed in younger workers:

• “I'm only 48 and I WANT to work but my overall impression is that experience counts for nothing. I'm always being interviewed by people half my age they do not know how to deal with a serious candidate.” (Sarah, 45-54, South East)

• “It would be nice for an employer to actually let an older person have a job regardless of how long they have been out of work, everyone needs to re-start somewhere & most businesses just ignore you” (Laura, 45-55, West Midlands)

• “Are over 30s too far & lsquo;over the hill’ to start again?” (James, 25-34, South East)

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, commented, “Age is a sensitive subject for many but it should never be an obstacle in the workplace. It’s reassuring to see that UK professionals understand the valuable contribution older workers make to UK businesses, but it’s not enough if age discrimination still exists in the recruitment process.

“Hearing that someone in their 30s feels too old to start a new career is extremely worrying. Staff are excited about working with talented professionals, regardless of age, and businesses need to listen to this feedback. Age discrimination in the workplace or the recruitment process is unacceptable and it’s time to break down barriers for older workers looking for jobs."

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