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The Unnoticed Generation : survey shows 88% aged over 40, 61% seeking work for over 6 months

In these days where popular focus is on ‘the Millennials generation’ it’s easy to overlook those at the other end of the spectrum.  Those in the mid to late aspect of life and career.

A recent survey of active job-seekers showed that, of those sampled, 88% were aged over 40, of whom 61% had been seeking work for over 6 months. And these are not seasonal, casual or part time workers. They’re former job holders of roles entitled IT & Business Systems Leader, Global Account Manager, EMEA Services Delivery Manager, Process Engineer, Business Analyst, and Programme Manager, with years of exceptional experience and incomes frequently in the top 2-5 per cent of UK earners*. They share a fervent determination to regain employment and a palpable frustration at their seeming inability to get past the CV submission stage to any form of interview. And it’s the same whether their application is through a recruitment agency or direct to the employer.

So what’s going on here? In the UK, The Equality Act 2010 is a law which protects one from discrimination or unfair treatment on the basis of certain personal characteristics, such as age, gender, race etc. Yet could there be some truth in the belief, held by those surveyed and others with whom I work as a career coach, that their age is a limiting factor in their applications?

Clearly, for the future strength and growth of the business an employer must always offer the job to the best candidate, however where two job applicants are both equally able to do the job, the employer can base their decision on positive action to improve the diversity of their workplace. 

So what’s stopping these wonderfully talented, experienced and gifted people getting the jobs they seek and contributing to our economy?  Surely not some misguided notion that ‘age’ or 'extensive experience' is an issue?   


* (HMRC 2015-16 Income distribution as estimated from the Survey of Personal Incomes).