More older job-seekers hit the employment market

But people over 60 still face age discrimination, says Baroness Altmann


More and more people in their 50s and 60s are re-entering the job market (Photo: Wikipedia)

More older people are seeking employment than at any previous time, according to an employability charity in the Jewish community.

CEO Victoria Sterman of Resource in north London told the JC that the organisation had seen an increasing number of people over 60 approach them due to the cost-of-living crisis and the pandemic, creating circumstances in which people are unable to retire in their 60s or are being made redundant.

Sterman said that the number of people the charity was helping had “almost doubled” since the beginning of Covid and that over 10 per cent of their clients were now over 60.

But she added that as they tried to re-enter the job market, many had found themselves facing age discrimination.

Sterman’s comments were echoed by Baroness Ros Altmann CBE, one of the country’s leading pension experts and previously the government’s business champion for older workers.

She told the JC that older jobseekers facing discrimination when looking for work was “one of the big social and demographic challenges of our age”.

She said: “Many older people want to continue working, or they might need to, but there is still so much residual age discrimination in the labour market, and, as a result, they find it harder than most other groups to either find a new job or even stay in existing jobs.”

Baroness Altmann, who is going to be addressing a workshop at Resource on March 19, said that this might be partly due to the assumption of employers that someone who is in later life might be more likely to leave the role sooner, despite some studies showing the opposite, or the misconception that they are harder to train.

“Employers will often overlook that age group when it comes to training and updating skills, causing older people to fall increasingly behind, so downsizing or restructuring can often force them out first.

“Very often, you find someone who has so many years’ experience, a good candidate for most roles, but isn’t even given [the chance]. What a waste of resources. We’ve got all these people with a desire to work and so much to offer.”

Baroness Altmann said that at the workshop, she would be talking about how older people “can add so much to a workplace with loyalty and life experience and it’s so important that employers and recruiters stop putting unnecessary barriers in their way. They deserve a chance to keep contributing to society and the workforce, otherwise we will all be poorer.”

The session will also provide attendees with practical support in overcoming age barriers, teach how best to utilise one’s network, offer advice on creating an “age-less” CV and give top tips on interview techniques and how to dress appropriately. There will be a chance to ask questions to a panel of career experts.

Martin Grossman, 70, said he had benefited from Resource reintroducing him to how recruitment worked in the modern world after being made redundant from his role of 20 years.

He told the JC that “the last time I looked for a job, none of it was online; it was all through agencies and advertisements in newspapers.”

He said the help he got out of Resource had been “fantastic”, adding: “They are a very committed bunch of people, both their full-time staff and volunteers. I certainly benefited from it, and others will too, particularly perhaps those less confident and really struggling.”

Resource currently supports more than 1,000 people a year with tailored advice, mentoring, networking, seminars and IT training programmes.

Click here for details of the Age Less Job Search workshop being run by Resource on 19 March

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