Study highlights older jobseekers’ perceptions of ageism

Over half of older workers are worried about ageism in the recruitment process, according to a new study.

Older woman works at home on laptop


Nearly half of jobseekers in their 50s and 64% of those in their 60s feel their age puts them at a significant disadvantage when looking for jobs, according to a new report.

The ‘Working Late: Over 50s and employment’ report from Legal & General Retail Retirement and the Centre for Economics and Business Research found 37% of over 50s felt overqualified for the jobs they identified, 35% believed their skills did not meet the standards required in today’s workplace and 33% encountered unsuitable hours and a lack of flexibility in working hours or location. Over 50s seeking employment also found poor health (17%) and caring responsibilities (9%) adversely affected their job search, especially when these were not accommodated for by potential employers.

The study also found 11% said actual or perceived closeness to retirement was a reason that employers were less likely to hire them, as well as an actual or perceived generational skills gap (8%). Less frequently, respondents noted that some job offers have implicit or explicit age restrictions biased toward younger workers and that they have found the ‘cultural fit’ emphasised by businesses to be exclusionary. A final common theme identified in the responses was the perception that businesses can hire younger workers more cheaply.

Older workers for searching for a job included financial reasons [29% cited this], other aspects such as life satisfaction or health benefits [26%]. The majority of respondents stated their motivations were equally financial and non-financial.

The study found workers in the West Midlands were more likely to say there were a lack of appropriate job opportunities in their area, followed by Scotland. Workers in Wales had the lowest level of a lack of appropriate jobs and London (29%) and the North West (28%) were also below the national average.

Andrew Kail, CEO, Legal & General Retail Retirement, said: “The number of job seekers in their 50s and 60s who believe they are not finding work because they are ‘overqualified’, too close to ‘retirement age’ or more expensive shows how difficult the recruitment landscape is for those wanting to get back into work or stay in work longer. With the state pension age rising to 68, and the prospect of planning for an income well into our 90s, many older workers simply can’t afford to retire. It’s therefore vital that we move towards a job market in which older people are not overlooked.”

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