Why Older Workers Find It Difficult to Get a Job?

old men

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by Jayaram V

Older workers are finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs in the USA. Some of them are unemployed for years and surviving on 401-K savings and part-time jobs. The chances of older people finding jobs have been on the decline steadily since the begging of this century.

Every time they attend an interview they feel depressed or frustrated because of the questions they have to answer and the matter of fact manner in which they are treated by the recruiters. They even feel depressed that neither their experience nor their qualifications are considered good enough to get them a second interview.

Older workers possess good qualification, experience, a history of good work ethics, loyalty to the companies they work for, good moral and ethical conduct, commitment to work, and discipline. Yet, in the USA people over fifty have to spend to more time get a decent job. If at all they manage to get one, in most cases it is either a part-time, temporary, or low paying job

According to a recent estimate, the average duration of unemployment for older people is about 53 weeks, whereas it is 19 weeks for teenagers. The number of unemployed people between ages 50 and 65 is also said to be rising gradually.

If you are over 50 and planning to go to college to update your academic qualifications and pay the fee that runs into thousands of dollars besides the time and other expenses, think again. Chances are you may not be able to recover the expenses you may incur to earn that extra degree, since it does not greatly improve your resume or job opportunities.

Jobless old workers who are not officially eligible for Medicare, have to spend money on their own for their healthcare insurance, which is expensive nowadays. If their insurance has higher deductibles, it makes matters worse.

Some of the major consequences of unemployment among older workers are economic hardship, health problems, homelessness, and increasing divorces and suicide rates.


Not enough research has been done on the subject of joblessness and related problems faced by older workers in the country. The following facts are mostly responsible for the increasing long-term unemployment rate among older workers.

1. Transference: Recruiters, who are mostly young or middle-aged may subconsciously transfer the feelings of negativity and resentment they feel towards the older generation to the older workers they interview.

2. Fear: Young employers may fear that they may not be able to discipline or control the older workders or they may not readily fit into their team culture.

3. Prejudice: Recruiters may believe that older workers either lack skills or difficult to train and motivate. They may be influenced by the belief that older people are rigid or inflexible in their thinking and attitude.

5. Young people cost less: Companies may prefer recruiting young college graduates and pay them less starting salaries than to recruit older workers with better experience and qualifications and pay them more.

4. Skills gap: Most older workers may not have the right skills or job knowledge to perform many specialized jobs that required technical expertise. They may not also feel comfortable to perform certain labor intensive jobs such as carrying weights, driving for long hours, or farm work.

5. Inadequate preparation: Older workers may not prepare as thoroughly and seriously as younger workers for the job interviews or show the same energy and enthusiasm during the interviews.

6. Supply and demand: Due to recession and high unemployment rates in the country, companies now have a lot of options to choose candidates. This coupled with immigration and outsourcing, makes the older workers least desirable in the selection process.

7. Networking. Most jobs in the country are filled through networking. If you know someone in a company or a department, your chances of getting an interview opportunity are much higher. Older people may not be as effectively networking as younger ones and thereby do not get enough interview calls.

8. Mobility. Older workers may not like to relocate to new places since they may have settled at the same place for long and prefer staying there.

9. Politics. Politicians of the major parties do not care much about the problems of older workers. They spend more time talking about legalizing the illegal immigrants and providing them with work permit since they constitute a major vote bank.

Bhagavadgita Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V Avaialbe in USA/UK/DE/FR/ES/IT/NL/PL/SC/JP/CA/AU

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