14 Reasons Why Over 55s Struggle To Get Hired


Loads of companies out there are totally into age discrimination. If you’re over 55, you’re probably catching the worst of it. It’s like all the primo gigs are reserved for the younger crowd, you know?

But here’s the thing: Is that even fair? Age discrimination is a no-no by law, but there are other legitimate reasons why older folks struggle to snag decent jobs.

From companies giving them the cold shoulder to needing to keep up with ever-changing skills, there are many reasons why finding work is like navigating a maze for those over 55. So, buckle up because we’re diving into 14 of these hurdles right now.

Age Discrimination


Sometimes, there’s no reason an employer would turn you down for a job other than discrimination. Age discrimination remains a pervasive issue in the workforce, with many employers holding biases against older applicants.

Despite laws prohibiting age-based discrimination, subtle biases often influence hiring decisions. Older candidates may encounter stereotypes suggesting they are less adaptable, tech-savvy, or unwilling to learn new skills. Consequently, they are frequently overlooked in favor of younger candidates, even if their qualifications are equal or superior.

Stereotypes and Preconceptions


Stereotypes about older workers can hinder their job search efforts. Employers may believe older individuals lack energy, enthusiasm, or innovative thinking. These stereotypes can lead to unconscious (or conscious!) biases during hiring, causing older applicants to be unfairly excluded from job opportunities.

Despite evidence to the contrary, these stereotypes persist and contribute to the challenges older job seekers face.

Technology Skills Gap


Technological proficiency is increasingly vital in many industries involving desk work. Unfortunately, some older job seekers may lack the advanced technology skills employers seek. While many older adults are proficient with basic computer tasks, they may struggle with more complex software or digital tools.

This technology skills gap can disadvantage older applicants, especially in fields where digital literacy is essential.

Rapidly Changing Job Market

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The job market constantly evolves, with new industries emerging and existing ones undergoing significant transformations. Older job seekers may find it challenging to keep pace with these changes, particularly if they have been out of the workforce or in the same industry for an extended period. Sadly, some employers will assume that older job applications haven’t kept pace and will throw their resumes aside without a second thought.

Adapting to new trends, technologies, and job requirements can be daunting for older individuals, making it harder for them to compete effectively for employment opportunities.

Salary Expectations


Experienced workers typically command higher salaries due to their years of experience and expertise. While this should reflect their value, it can sometimes work against them in the job market. As a result, many employers may be hesitant to hire older candidates because salary demands are simply too high.

They may prefer younger applicants willing to accept lower salaries, assuming they have fewer financial obligations or are less likely to demand raises or promotions in the future.

Limited Networking Opportunities


As with most jobs, networking plays a crucial role in the job search, allowing individuals to tap into hidden job markets and gain insights from industry insiders. However, older job seekers may have limited networking opportunities compared to their younger counterparts who are still in the midst of their careers. Their professional networks may not be as extensive or active, particularly if they have recently been out of the workforce or have not engaged in networking activities.

This lack of robust professional connections can make it harder for older individuals to access job leads and referrals.

Overqualification Concerns


Believe it or not, being overqualified is as much of a problem as being underqualified—sometimes worse.

Older job seekers often have impressive resumes with years of experience and accomplishments. However, this wealth of experience can sometimes work against them, as employers may fear hiring someone who is overqualified for the position. They may worry that the candidate will become bored or dissatisfied with the role and seek opportunities elsewhere, leading to a short tenure.

As a result, older applicants may be passed over for jobs they are more than qualified for due to concerns about overqualification.

Lack of Training Opportunities


Employers may be less inclined to invest in training older workers, assuming they are less adaptable or receptive to learning new skills. Consequently, older job seekers may encounter fewer opportunities for training and professional development, further widening the skills gap between them and younger applicants.

Without access to training programs that can help them update their skills and stay competitive, older workers may struggle to secure employment in industries that prioritize continuous learning and upskilling.

Physical Demands of the Job


Some jobs require physical stamina or agility that may become more challenging as individuals age (ie: factory workers, delivery drivers, etc). Employers may be hesitant to hire older candidates for roles that involve strenuous physical activity or long hours, fearing that they may struggle to keep up or be more prone to injury.

While age should not be a determining factor in one’s ability to perform a job, concerns about physical limitations may influence hiring decisions and limit opportunities for older job seekers.

Lack of Flexibility


Older job seekers may have specific preferences, working styles or constraints regarding their work arrangements, such as a desire for part-time hours, remote work options, or flexible schedules. However, employers may perceive these preferences as inflexibility, particularly if they are accustomed to hiring younger candidates who are more willing to conform to traditional work structures.

This mismatch in expectations can create challenges for older applicants seeking jobs that align with their desired work-life balance.

Cultural Fit Concerns


Employers often prioritize cultural fit when making hiring decisions, seeking candidates who will seamlessly integrate into their organization’s work environment and values. After all, hiring someone who doesn’t fit the culture tends to be an expensive mistake as employee turnover is very expensive (more on this a bit later).

Older job seekers may face challenges in this regard, as they may be perceived as out of touch with the company’s culture or less compatible with younger colleagues.

Despite their wealth of experience and professionalism, older applicants may struggle to convince employers that they can adapt to and thrive within the company’s unique cultural dynamics.

Resume and Interview Bias

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It happens all the time whether we realize it or not. Unconscious biases can influence how older job seekers are perceived during the application and interview process. Employers may subconsciously favor younger candidates based on assumptions about energy, adaptability, or cultural fit. Additionally, older applicants may encounter age-related biases when crafting their resumes, such as concerns about being perceived as overqualified or outdated.

These biases can make it harder for older individuals to showcase their skills and experiences effectively and compete on an equal footing with younger applicants.

Employee Turnover Costs Are High


Employers may be reluctant to hire older workers due to concerns about the potential costs associated with retraining or accommodating their needs. The process to hire a new employee and get them completely up to speed takes time and resources, both of which are expensive commodities for most employers.

Older job seekers may require additional support or resources to update their skills or transition into new roles, which some employers may view as a financial burden.

As a result, older applicants may find themselves overlooked in favor of younger candidates who are perceived as more cost-effective to hire and train.

Close To Retirement


Despite many older individuals wanting or needing to continue working past traditional retirement age, there remains a societal perception that older workers should retire and make way for younger generations. This attitude can contribute to ageism in the workplace, with employers assuming that older candidates are not interested in or capable of meaningful contributions to the workforce.

Overcoming these perceptions and demonstrating their continued value and relevance in the workplace can be an uphill battle for older job seekers.