Am I Too Old For This Job?

4 years ago


Yes, you heard me right! It’s a question I get asked all too often.

It’s my responsibility to discover fantastic, talented candidates and fully understand their needs, desires and aspirations in order to support their future career progression; yet candidates are genuinely concerned that their age is going to prevent them landing a new role! In this day and age, that is a travesty!

The Government recently appointed Andy Briggs, who is CEO of Aviva UK Life, as its Business Champion for Older Workers. Andy has advised that employers should increase the number of older people in the UK workforce by one million over the next five years to combat age bias.

He has concluded that every UK employer should increase the number of workers aged 50-69 in the UK by 12 per cent by 2022. The target is aimed at supporting older people who want the same range of options and opportunities as younger colleagues and to be recognised for their experience and expertise. By recognising the skills older people bring to the workplace, employers will benefit from the breadth and depth of their knowledge.

Andy Briggs said:

“This target is achievable if employers commit to taking an honest and sustained approach to understanding age bias in their organisations. Older people can be written off by their employers, but we are asking employers to consider carefully the overwhelming benefits of having a diverse and representative workforce, and then to act on it. We live in an ageing society so it is critical that people are able to work for as long as they need and want to and there are overwhelming benefits for both employers and employees.

The employment rate for people aged 50-69 is 59 per cent and the report says this must increase to 66 percent by 2022 if the UK is to start addressing its skills gap. By 2022, 14.5 million more jobs will be created but only 7 million younger workers will enter the workforce – leaving 7.5 million roles unfilled.”

So, you’re asking yourself if you’re too old – You’re not! And here’s why…

For a start, it’s against the law to discriminate someone based on their age and quite frankly, it’s just not right. Also, having this doubt in the back of your mind isn’t healthy! If you’re in doubt, then that will most certainly come across in your job search.

If you’re ever in doubt, here’re a few things to consider! I find a nice way of reminding yourself of what you have to offer is writing some pointers down. Here are a few ideas:

  • Commitment & Work Ethic now anyone can demonstrate a strong work ethic; even people at the start of their career, but you’re tried and tested. You’ve proven that you can graft and work to personal and company goals. All employers want a candidate dedicated to the wider cause, use your years of experience to demonstrate this.
  • Experience & Transferrable skills These are skills you have honed and developed through all your experiences, not just in jobs but in your personal life. This can be of great value to an employer and something to shout about in your pursuit to land a new role. It’s important to remember that you are a fountain of knowledge and will be in a strong position to share these skills with people coming through a business.
  • Attitude it’s easy to think that your skills & experience are your most important attributes when looking for a new role. The attitude that you bring to your role and your colleagues is equally as important. You’ll have dealt with many different circumstances across your career and developed ways of maintaining a positive attitude when handling difficult situations and working with team members and line management. You can use historic examples of these to demonstrate your attitude traits in interview situations.
  • References & Exposureagain, you’re tried and tested – use this to your advantage. References can provide possible employers with a picture of what they’re getting by bringing you into their team. Personal references can offer a clear picture of you, your work ethic and work behaviours. Be sure to dig back through your career history to line up former managers who can share this valuable information on your behalf.

Now, I’m not saying that someone at the start of their career can’t embody the above, but if you’re in any doubt that your age is a barrier, just stop thinking it! It’s your responsibility to focus on the positive factors that your wealth of experience has given you; this is something not to be forgotten or underestimated. By utilising your history and experiences you may have a lot to offer to help transform the future of any business and is definitely something to promote.

I hope the above helps quash those negative thoughts and helps you see your potential. Companies with strong core values will see the benefits of hiring someone with all the above.

Looking for some more tips and advice in your career search? Get in touch!

Amy Hutcheson

[email protected]




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