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January 28, 2008 12:41 PM

In addition to my role as CEO of Women For Hire, I wear another hat as the Workplace Contributor. For an upcoming segment on Good Morning America. I’m looking at how long-term unemployment (27 weeks or more) is growing fastest among white-collar, college-educated people with longevity in the workplace.

While interviewing many jobless professionals in their 40s and 50s, I’ve found one common thread: a strong belief that employers don’t want older workers. Several people told me, “I’ve got 30 years of experience and nobody cares.”

Often times a seasoned pro is passed over for a younger candidate not because an employer has a bias against older folks, but because the younger person has the most current skills and expertise that complement the business needs. A marketing director with 20 years of experience in traditional marketing techniques isn’t going to be as desirable to some employers as the younger marketing manager with only five years of experience concentrated in online branding and search engine optimization. Clearly more experience doesn't always mean the right experience. That’s definitely a shift from what older generations have witnessed at work.

We’re doing a lot of coaching to prep highly-skilled individuals with great depth of expertise to build job campaigns that highlight more than their years at work. We’ve recommended accelerated training programs and opportunities for interim assignments, both of which improve marketability.

Post a comment and share your thoughts We’d love you to weigh in with your observations and opinions.

Comments (6)

After months of frustrating job searching, I was actually told by two of my temporary companies, by one woman at each company, that the problem was my weight and race and age and sex. All the years of college and other preping along with experience meant nothing......These ladies risked their jobs for they were frustrated for me and wanted me to know it was nothing personal. I have no problem with a younger generation getting its nitch in life, however it is a travesty for corporate America to turn its head on experience and dependability as soooo many younger generations feel seemingingly invencible and often change jobs at a whim, not to mention soo many complaints of high absenteism. "America, loose yours roots and loose your abiity to grow.............."
Thank you for this outlet,

Recruiters don't help either. They tell you to remove anything that discloses your age, including the year you got your degree and only include 10 or so years of experience because the rest doesn't matter. The last 4 months has been the most frustrating experience I have ever had getting new employment.

I once had an interview at a NYC spa. The owner praised all my experience and skills. Then he told me that he never hires people with as much experience as me, because experienced people try to tell him how to run his business, but he just wanted to meet me and see how i was. Those were his actual words. That tells me, he doesn't run a good business, and anyone with a little bit of experience, will find out after the first day on the job! In my industry, employers think experience means inflexibility and bigger salary. Once you're at the top, you do become unemployable. I have had this experience many times.

I have been looking daily for a job and women in their 50's are throw away today. I went to a web site and it had different categories to go to to look for jobs. Sample list: Grad School, College Grad, High School, Ex Criminal, Pedaphile, and many others. To bad women don't rate. Something has to be done! We so need a lobby group! So what did womens lib do for us anyhow?

The problem is, you don't even get to the point of negotiating salary. I'm not looking to make a huge salary, just enough to pay living expenses and a little spending money. As it is, my savings are dwindling and the opportunities to interview are rare at best. I don't have a family to support and could probably live more economically on a modest salary than a younger person. Plus, I'd bring more value to the position because of years of experience in various roles in the computer field.

Well, and also a worker with five years experience can be obtained for less $$$ than the older thirty-year person. Surely this has to be a huge factor.

Maybe even, at times, the most important one??

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