The Effect of Age on a Job Search
One of the common fears of job seekers over the age of 45 is that their age will be an obstacle to finding a job; I’ve even heard candidates say “if I was 35, I’d have found a job by now”. What is the effect of your age on today’s job market?
For more mature workers, their fear comes from the business culture that existed when they were starting their careers, a time when employers wanted to hire someone for a decade or two. As recently as the mid-1970’s tenure at companies averaged just under 20 years. What job seekers need to understand is that this has changed dramatically in the last generation.
In today’s job market we are all in essence “temporary workers”, the average tenure of professional workers is now at just over 5 years. Leadership teams and management turn over every few years and instead of wanting to “groom” new employees over time, their primary concern is bringing in someone who can immediately contribute.
There is still a concern by some employers that more mature workers aren’t as able to effectively deal with change, the “old dog learning new tricks” cliché, which is why it is even more important for more mature job seekers to have plenty of recent examples (both on their resume and to discuss in interviews) that they successfully dealt with change.
The worst effect of age for most candidates is created in their own minds. Remember that as an older worker you bring several attributes that are attractive to employers; maturity, experience, work ethic, and a track record. Prove to employers that you have the wisdom that your age brings while still possessing the enthusiasm of youth and your search will be successful.