Forgotten talent pool continues to be overlooked

By on 13 November, 2012
More than three quarters of mature age jobseekers in Australia are dissatisfied with employers and recruiters, new research by mature age job board Adage.com.au has found.
A survey of more than 800 jobseekers, all above the age of 45, has revealed a hefty 88% are dissatisfied with the level of response received from recruiters. A further 77% said they are dissatisfied with the response of employers.
Adage.com.au MD Heidi Holmes said the results were concerning, but not surprising:
“Mature age workers have it extremely tough in Australia. Once you are past 45, no one wants to know you. It’s an incredibly sad state of affairs and something I think we need to have a good, hard look at in this country – especially as our population continues to age,” Mrs Holmes said.
“It incredible to me that there is so much discussion about skills shortages in Australia, while so many highly qualified and experienced workers are being overlooked simply because they’ve got a bit of grey hair.
Mrs Holmes said one-third (33%) of the respondents surveyed were under the age of 55.
“We aren’t talking about ‘seniors’ here – many of these workers are in their 40s (for some, that’s more than 20 years until the official retirement age) – and have over 20 years experience in the industry. And most of them are highly skilled and very eager to work,” she said.
Half of the respondents were qualified with an undergraduate degree or higher. About 15 per cent had a Masters degree and many had PhDs.
“For employers and recruiters to be turning a blind eye to this skilled, experienced and enthusiastic talent pool is senseless. Mature age workers are loyal, skilled and hard-working and importantly, readily available,” Mrs Holmes said.
The survey also found four out of five respondents (78%) refused to put their age on their CV.
“When you ask the majority of mature age jobseekers why they don’t put their age on their CV, they’ll tell you they stopped doing it because they were advised not to by a recruiter or a friend. If you press them further, they’ll explain that they’re scared their age will disadvantage them,” Mrs Holmes said.
“The fact that so many experienced and skilled Australians feel they need to resort to deception to land a job is an indictment upon Australian employers.
Mrs Holmes said, compared to neighbouring countries in Asia, Australia is falling behind.
“Employers in countries like Singapore and Malaysia, regard the experience gained by hiring mature age workers as an asset. They understand the worth of mature age workers and actually seek them out to enrich their companies,” she said.
Mrs Holmes said while some Australian businesses were starting to recognise the value in taking experience over youth, the survey results revealed there was still a long way to go.

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