- Workers aged 45 and up tend to be seen as weaker job candidates than their younger counterparts, according to career training non-profit Generation. "Meeting the Midcareer Moment," its July 2021 report, gathered the perspectives of 1,404 hiring managers across seven countries: Brazil, India, Italy, Singapore, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.
- Hiring managers told Generation that 17% of middle-aged candidates are "application-ready," 18% have relevant skills or experience, and 15% have the right fit with company culture.
- The report also includes the experiences of 3,800 low-income and entry-level workers and job-seekers, aged 45 through 60. Across the seven countries, 71% of current job seekers see their age as a major obstacle.
Age-related bias appears to be pervasive among recruiting teams. And yet, the same managers who expressed concerns about mid-career candidates in the Generation report said that 87% of their 45-and-up hires perform on the job as well as — if not, better than — younger employees. Similarly, hiring managers said 90% of their middle-aged employees have as much or more potential to stay at their company long-term.
A U.S.-based study by WerkLabs, published in June 2021, affirms that workers over 40 tend to experience more discrimination in the job search than in the workplace.
Along with hiring team biases, COVID-19 has made the job search more difficult for middle-aged workers. In the Generation survey, 37% of respondents switching jobs mid-career and 50% of respondents seeking work said that COVID-19 has had "a major impact on their employment status."
In June 2020, the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research noted higher unemployment rates among workers aged 65 and older, compared to workers aged 25 to 44. COVID-19 had a more negative economic impact on older workers than previous recessions, according to the report.
A key takeaway for HR professionals: Re-imagine training, Generation recommends, so that new roles can be filled by existing middle-aged employees and not solely new hires.