‘despite years of experience I have not been able to find work’ is the all too common cry. Older men tend to experience the largest decline in full time employment with unfortunate statistics indicating something over 40 % of men between the ages of 55 - 65 are out of full time work. An amazing and sad fact!
Whilst initially one may think that unemployment is effecting a particular generation of workers this is not the case - there appears to be an ongoing trend. If one was to looks back to the 80’s and compare the older workers with the workers of today you will find the proportion of older unemployed men has nearly doubled.
In considering why older men are without work it is interesting to consider hiring behaviour. Some firms simply avoid hiring older workers for their jobs. Equality in Employment rules are out there but in the ‘real world’ this does not necessarily equate to older men being given the opportunity. Increasing age discrimination means older men have difficulty finding work. Such hiring behaviour tends to answer why generally older workers experience longer durations of unemployment than younger workers experience.
As well as older men being unemployed there is also a growing percentage in the number of older men who are “economically inactive”, neither employed nor defined as being unemployed.
With governments wanting workers to work longer these unemployment trends are a major concern. Unemployment negatively effects workers no matter how old they are. Being an older male, that is unemployed, can cause ill- health and this causes an impact on our country’s finances / medical costs. Not only is there a burden on our social security but older workers pay taxes and unemployed workers do not.
Unemployed men are generally economically inactive. Unfortunately return to work rates for older men are lower for the economically inactive than those men that are working.
Older workers need to adjust their focus and start looking for positons that may be different from what they have previously had. Obviously this may mean a reduction in pay and often a less challenging job however there can be an upside too as often this can mean securing less stressed work closer to home.
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