Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Survey results...thanks for participating

In July, I posted a query - just how long does it take for a 50-plusser to find a new job? The reason I was interested was because of a 2004 AARP report -- that it took workers 55 and older 25.8 weeks to find a job, compared to 18.9 weeks for younger worker. It is now 2007 and I wanted to find out about the experience of 50 plussers (5 years earlier than the AARP study), so I set up a survey and asked the following four questions:

1) Over 50: How long did you search for your current job?

2) Under 50: How long did it take you to find your current job?

3) Over 50 with no job: How long have you been searching for a new job?

4) Over 50: What type of work are you looking for?

Well, at long last, here are the results of my very unscientific survey on job search. Details of the results are below, but just so you all know, question 3 was the one I was really interested in -- if you were over 50 and had NO job, how long was the job search taking you? As you can see, from the AARP report, it took workers 55 and older 25.8 weeks (just shy of 6 months) to find a job. My survey is unscientific because those who take it have come to my blog specifically because they are looking for employment or are employers interested in hiring this demographic. Nonetheless, my feeling was that it was taking most of the Gen Plus jobseekers a heck of a lot longer to find a job. Full results are below for those of you who like statistics, but the long and the short of it?

Of our survey-takers, 50 and older, who currently do NOT have a job, 42% have been looking for longer than 1 year and 21% have been seeking employment between 7 months and 1 year. That means that 63% of those who took the survey, 50 years and older have been searching for work at LEAST longer than 7 months. That, my friends, is a long time.

So, how to effect change and make it easier for 50 plussers to find employment quickly? For those of you who have been following this blog for a long time, you know that I am commited to changing the perception of employers in the US and Canada so that they will actively seek out (and post jobs on the Gen Plus site) 50 plussers to enhance their workforce. I'm just one person, but there are a few others like me out there, working every day to bring awareness to the challenges facing 50 plussers and if we keep at it long enough, the employment picture will change.

Here are the results:

1) Over 50: How long did you search for your current job?

Less than 1 month 12%
Between 1 and 3 months 3%
Between 4 and 6 months 12%
Between 7 months and 1 year 9%
More than 1 year 9%
Still looking 55%

2) Under 50: How long did it take you to find your current job?
Less than 1 month 27%
Between 1 and 3 months 12%
Between 4 and 6 months 4%
Between 7 months and 1 year 6%
More than 1 year 6%
Still looking 46%

3) Over 50 with no job: How long have you been searching for a new job?

Less than 1 month 9%
Between 1 and 3 months 9%
Between 4 and 6 months 18%
Between 7 months and 1 year 21%
More than 1 year and still searching 42%

4) Over 50: What type of work are you looking for?
Full time 72%
Part-time 4%
Contract 1%
Any of the above 22%

I'll be running a new survey shortly, so stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Australia has just launched an interesting website dedicated to keeping all those over 50 active, which should benefit many retired and semi retired people with skills, all while earning them an income.
The website http://www.over50network.com.au offers those with virtually any skill a chance to pass that on and earn some extra income. The website will cater for all ages, whilst looking to the over 50’s to provide the skills in their local area. Skill providers as these knowledgeable semi retired are known sign up to offer their services to their local areas
As the TV ad says “grey is the in thing ” so is http://www.over50network.com.au

Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Glad to hear about your website. We get a lot of Australian visitors, so I'm sure they'll appreciate someone down under looking after their interests!


Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy!

Thanks for taking leadership in conducting this survey! Yes, it’s likely the data is skewed by job seeker respondents who are experiencing long searches. In working in outplacement with mid-life individuals, for the past seven years, it has not been uncommon for folks to take three to six months to land a position.

While there are several factors that can work against people 50 or older, I’ve seen many people in this group focus more on barriers than they do on things they can actually control, especially what they communicate about themselves.

I think lots of employers have gotten the message that mature workers have a solid work ethic, perspective, good judgment, and transferable skills. Still, individual job seekers need to go beyond that to make a compelling case for why they are a good hire; they need to be able to convey the value they offer. As well, they need to find lots of opportunities to state their case, making networking a critical aspect of the job search.

So, while it’s great to see job boards that support 50-plus individuals, it’s still important for mature workers to sharpen their skills in conducting job search. In fact, given the shift to the Conceptual Age that Daniel Pink points to in “A Whole New Mind,” I would go as far as saying that many people can benefit from using a personal branding approach to career management and transition. I’ve just put up a post on this in the personal branding category at my blog:


I hope this is helpful.

Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

As always, Walter, you provide great insight. Personal branding is one of the most important aspects of job search. You are 100% correct and I highly recommend your very helpful blog.

Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for your great feedback and recommendation! You are an enthusiastic leader with a fresh and optimistic perspective – talk about a great brand! I really enjoy your blog and believe you are making a difference in the lives of the 50 plus community!

Best wishes for your continued success,