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Workers over 50 having trouble finding the job they need

There are a lot of reasons that people find themselves searching for a job. Maybe they are just starting out in their career, maybe they are unsatisfied with their current position, maybe they’re in a company without a lot of room to move up or maybe they want a job that provides a better work-life balance.

According to a recent poll, it isn’t a voluntary choice that has most people over the age of 50 looking for a job. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 63 percent of that age group said financial needs pushed them into the application pool. Another 15 percent said that being laid off prompted them to search for employment.

Although 78 percent cited the need to find a new job due to finances or layoffs, they are having a hard go at it. In fact, 55 percent of this group reported that they felt like their job search process was difficult, and 43 percent felt that age was a factor for employers. In other cases, the jobs that they sought weren’t available, didn’t pay well or failed to offer adequate benefits.

At a time in life when retirement is just around the corner, extra considerations have to be made. A good paying job with good benefits becomes ever more important, so “starting at the bottom,” as one 50-plus job applicant called it, isn’t always an option. “And frankly,” said this applicant, “I’m getting too old to be starting at the bottom.”

Even others are finding that their experience that was gained as they grew older is preventing them from even getting that starter-level job. The word “overqualified” seems to find its way into the interview or into a rejection letter.

During the hiring process, an employer generally does not have to justify a decision. However, New Jersey law protects workers from adverse employment actions based on age or other legally protected characteristics.

Source: MPR News, “For jobless over 50, a challenging search for work,” Matt Sedensky, Oct. 22, 2013

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