As American workers age, the job market tends to become an increasingly unwelcome place for them, according to the findings of a recently published study. In fact, as researchers1 have reportedly discovered, aging workers in the U.S. generally have a harder time finding jobs than younger job applicants.
And this obstacle to securing employment later in life may be having significant impacts on aging workers’ retirement choices – and their financial futures.
Details of the Study & its Findings
To examine the nature of job opportunities and unemployment for aging American workers, researchers analyzed federal data published in the 2014 Displaced Worker Survey (by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS).
What they reportedly found was that:
- The average job seeker who is at least 50 years will be unemployed for nearly 6 weeks longer than the average job seeker who is in his/her 30s or 40s.
- When compared to job seekers in their 20s, unemployed workers in their 50s are jobless for nearly 11 weeks longer than younger workers.
- As job seekers continue to age, their chances of securing a job narrow, declining by more than 2.5 percent with each year (after the age of 50).
Responses to the Findings
Commenting on the findings of this study, Professor Connie Wanberg at the University of Minnesota has stated:
There’s very robust evidence that, as an individual moves beyond age 50, they experience a large penalty toward how quickly they will find a job… With respect to marketplace needs, the industry a person went into as a young worker might not be as lucrative later in his career. Skill obsolescence can play a role as well.
Elucidating some of the reasons as to why older workers may experience more challenges securing jobs, Ruth Kanfer, co-author of the study, explained that:
The obstacles to re-employment success stem not just from employer views about older workers, but also from age-related differences in knowledge, skills and abilities and the kind of jobs people want… As individuals age, their skills and abilities change and they may often seek a different type of job. Consider construction workers who must carry heavy objects. If they change occupations or move into a different field, that is likely going to slow their search.
Kanfer went on to explain how the greater impacts that such obstacles may having, nothing that:
Job loss is really difficult for older workers, many of whom have probably already been thinking about retiring or slowing down, but had not yet reached a level of financial security to permit retirement. Losing your job at this point in life creates a real conundrum – should I put myself through the strain of a job search or just retire for now?
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1: Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Minnesota