In a market shaped by mass job loss, mature workers are a critical workforce segment that has been hit particularly hard. Twenty-eight percent of workers age 55 and older who were laid off in the last 12 months found new jobs, the lowest of all age groups. This compares to 71 percent of those ages 25 to 34. A new study from CareerBuilder shows mature workers are expanding their job search to include entry-level positions, internships, relocation and other options to secure gainful employment – and employers are open to it.
Starting Over at Entry-Level
The majority (63 percent) of workers age 55 and older who were laid off in the last 12 months said they have applied for jobs below the level at which they were previously employed; 44 percent have been told by employers that they are overqualified.
In an effort to bring in a steady paycheck and get their foot in the door with a new organization, mature workers are now competing with recent college graduates and other new entrants to the workforce for entry-level positions.
One-in-four employers (26 percent) reported they have received applications from workers over the age of 50 for entry-level jobs (but not retired); an additional 11 percent have received entry-level applications from retirees. The vast majority of employers (65 percent) said they would consider experienced candidates who apply for jobs for which they’re overqualified.
Applying for Internships
Mature workers are also exploring internships as a way to land a longer term employment opportunity. Seven percent of employers reported mature workers have applied for internships at their organizations. Four percent have hired mature workers while 55 percent would be willing to consider mature workers for internships.
Considering a New Location
Embarking on a new adventure by moving to a new location is another option for some mature workers. Of mature workers who were laid off in the last 12 months and did not find a new job, 41 percent stated they would consider relocating to another city or state to find employment.
Becoming Their Own Boss
Some mature workers are using a challenging job market as a catalyst to entrepreneurship. Of mature workers who were laid off in the last 12 months and did not find a job, 23 percent are considering starting their own business.
“Mature workers offer a wealth of knowledge and experience that has translated into a significant competitive advantage for employers,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Employers are considering mature job candidates for a variety of positions ranging from entry-level to senior-level to consultants to leverage their intellectual capital and mentor other workers. Twenty-nine percent of employers have hired a worker age 50 or older for a permanent position within their organization over the last six months.”
Of those mature workers who were laid off in the last 12 months and found another job, 26 percent took a job in another field with the vast majority (75 percent) reporting that they are enjoying the experience. In terms of compensation, 40 percent landed positions with similar pay and another 13 percent found jobs with a higher compensation rate than what they were previously earning. Forty-eight percent took a pay cut.
In addition to applications received by mature job candidates, employers are also receiving requests from staff members to stay with the company longer. One-in-five employers (21 percent) reported, over the last six months, current employees approaching retirement age have asked them to postpone their retirement. Of that 21 percent, the vast majority (86 percent) said their organizations are open to postponing retirements, pointing to the following benefits:
- Employers want to hold on to their intellectual capital (65 percent)
- Mature workers can help train and mentor others (61 percent)
- Mature workers know how to weather a tough economy (42 percent)
- Employers have more time to transition responsibilities (36 percent)