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Older jobseekers have never had it so good

Economic pressures are forcing employers to consider older applicants more seriously.

Skilled and experienced jobseekers aged over 50 and over 65 seeking new working opportunities are in the best position for years, according to the recruitment website SkilledPeople.com which specialises in helping employers find quality candidates aged over 50.

Over the last five years the UK employment rate has steadily increased and now stands at 31.8 million, up by 560,000 in just 12 months. This means that more people than ever before are working in the UK. At the same time, levels of unemployment have fallen and now stand at 1.6million according to the latest statistics.

Whilst 1.6 million may still seem to be a lot of people looking for work if you’re a job hunter, in reality it’s comparatively small once one takes into account that there will always be a churn as people leave one job and get another, along with a proportion of people who have negligible experience and are not attractive employee propositions for employers.

It’s also notable that the number of over 65s now working passed the 1million mark a couple of years ago and has now reached an incredible 1.2million. Similarly the number of over 65s registered as unemployed has fallen from a tiny 24,000 to 16,000 in the latest stats.

An inevitable conclusion from the numbers is that jobseekers aged over 50 stand a better chance of finding a new position compared with five years ago.

‘Under the counter’ age discrimination may still be widespread but companies looking to hire quality people cannot now afford to quietly ignore the CVs of older applicants unless they seriously want to disadvantage their businesses by recruiting poorer quality people. And what employer wants that?

Allied to the rise in overall employment has been a marked increase in job vacancies. Back in 2010 vacancies were running at around 475,000. Now they are about 750,000. So, the need for people has risen by 50% whilst the pool of skilled experienced people has expanded by a much smaller figure. Hence, the over 50s have become more employable.

Further evidence comes from SkilledPeople itself which has seen a marked rise in job posts by companies who five years ago wouldn’t have given the idea of recruiting an older person a second thought. These companies are now casting their nets much wider trying to fill vacancies with people who require minimal training, are reliable, know the UK market well and have realistic salary expectations. It all adds up to a win : win for employers and job hunters aged over 50.

A final bit of proof comes from a report on Charity Shop profitability which found that it’s fallen. One reason for the decline is the shortage of older people who are available to do voluntary work because they can now find conventional paid employment. What’s tough for charities has been beneficial for older working people.  

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