March 31, 2015

Older workers face challenges finding re-employment, says US survey

Older people in the US who become unemployed often struggle to find suitable re-employment, according to a new report.

The study, compiled by the AARP Public Policy Unit, found that 48% of older people who successfully found work after a period of unemployment were paid less than they were in their previous jobs. This figure rose to 59% for those who had been unemployed for a longer period.

Other workers found it necessary to take a less senior position or switch to part-time hours.

The biggest obstacle to re-employment according to those polled was scarcity of jobs, which was cited by 36% of respondents as a major barrier. Meanwhile, 51% reported that they had been discriminated against because of their age “a great deal” or “somewhat.”

AARP surveyed around 2,500 people aged 45–70 who had been unemployed at some point in the past five years. Chief executive Jo Ann Jenkins said the study shows that “hidden within the big economic picture of a falling national unemployment rate, many older workers still face challenges of long-term unemployment.”

Our author Matteo Picchio has written about the effect training can have on older workers’ employability. He says that: “Encouraging people to work longer and fostering the employability of older workers have become priorities for policymakers. Training specifically designed for older workers might help attain these goals, since it may refresh human capital and reduce the pay–productivity gap.”

Read more on this story at the The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. The AARP report can be read here.

Related articles:
Is training effective for older workers?, by Matteo Picchio