The Job Market for Older Workers Over 50 Looks Up

Mature adults 50-years-old and older who are looking for work will be happy to learn that the job market is on their side. According to Time, “the unemployment rate for those over age 55 stands at just 4.1%, compared with 5.7% for the total population and a steep 18.8% for teens.” Age discrimination charges have been on the decline for six years in a row now, and more companies are offering persons in the older age group (who likely lost their job in the recession) formal retraining programs.

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This spring, the global bank Barclays is seeking out more candidates 50 years and older for its apprenticeship program. Positions don’t require an extensive resume either, only “practical experience.” The head of apprenticeships Mike Thompson told Real Business, “We see real benefit in employing a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customer base. Building on the success of our existing apprenticeships programme though which we have appointed over 2,000 apprentices, we are exploring the value that those returning to work or looking for a new career can bring to our business.”

After training, Barclays believes that employees 50 and up will make valuable, full-time loan officers. They also believe that the group of workers will be able to provide greater empathy to certain customers.

The bank is one of many businesses who are batting for seasoned workers. The National Institutes of Health, Stanley Consultants and Michelin North America are also among the companies with specific programs designed to help workers 50 and over re-enter the job market.

AARP and organizations of the like have long advocated for the rights of older workers. Arguing points include their reliability, flexibility, level of experience and possession of valuable institutional knowledge—all attributes that employers are seemingly starting to value more. The job market for older workers is still dim overall, with a 31.5% unemployment rate. The increased opportunities and specialty programs, however, could be the beginning of great, more promising shift.