Too old ? |
Too old ?
Question :

Dear Doctor,

I am in my mid-40s, with ACCA, MBA & over 20 years of commercial (mostly managerial) experience but with no PRC exposure.

I am recently unemployed and find I could hardly find a vacancy matched as most of them required PRC / banking / insurance / listed co. experience.

I don't mind to get these experience from junior post like accountant or whatever and cutting half of my current salary. I just afraid my age is too old to compete these job.

Would it be more easier to can these type of job through headhunter. As I think the recruiter will simply throw away my CV with their first glance of my date of birth.

And what do you think about a even lower position that may be introduced by a friend ?

So what should I do ?

Posted by ok on Wednesday, 09 Jun 2010

Comments :

Broken Dream

Posted Wednesday 16th January 2013 09:07:00 AM


Age is a problem. Not only in Hong Kong. It is hard for older middle age people to find jobs in the whole world. What can an 50 years old IT guy do in Hong Kong?

Ezekiel HUNG

Posted Thursday 25th October 2012 10:40:00 AM


Aging is human dilemma, however, I truely believed that some of the aged are still healthy and energetic. I suppose CY (our CE) should initiate to do something for those minority as we have only one CE who could find an excellent job at 60. These age people are experienced and useful to the society, why not employers give them a chance to try which might discover a fortune who never know.


Posted Thursday 11th October 2012 06:33:51 PM


Dear Doctor, I am in my 43, with MEngg - Mech & over 20 years of R&D in engineering field (mostly managerial) experience with PRC exposure. I am recently unemployed and find I could hardly find a vacancy matched as most of them required very low salary (less than 30K per month). I don't mind to get these experience from junior post like accountant or whatever and cutting half of my current salary. I just afraid my age is too old to compete these job. Would it be more easier to can these type of job through headhunter. As I think the recruiter will simply throw away my CV with their first glance of my date of birth. So what should I do ?


Posted Thursday 11th October 2012 06:33:31 PM


Dear Doctor, I am in my 43, with MEngg - Mech & over 20 years of R&D in engineering field (mostly managerial) experience with PRC exposure. I am recently unemployed and find I could hardly find a vacancy matched as most of them required very low salary (less than 30K per month). I don't mind to get these experience from junior post like accountant or whatever and cutting half of my current salary. I just afraid my age is too old to compete these job. Would it be more easier to can these type of job through headhunter. As I think the recruiter will simply throw away my CV with their first glance of my date of birth. So what should I do ?

Louis Chiu

Posted Thursday 14th June 2012 02:35:00 PM


I absolutely agreed with KK's comment on June 4. It is truly tough for any middle aged worker to find work in HK except if one is interested in servicing industry. I experienced this difficulty first hand myself last December to this May as I decided to go home and look after my ailing mother while looking for a job at the same time so I asked my firm in Canada to grant me 6 months LOA which I thought should be sufficient to land an entry level position in the brokerage sector or investment banking side of business in Hong Kong. But little did I expect it has been this difficult for many middle aged workers like us to find comparable job in HK. During these 6 months, I only had 3 interviews and they are all from local insurance/MPF companies. I need advice from anyone who is kind enough to share with me. I am in my early 50s and I have been employed with the largest brokerage in Canada/USA, I have a BSc/BA from Canada and MSc in Financial Management from U of London, UK and professional licenses from Canada. I like to return to HK in 2013 and I need to re-plan now. How should I go about this time around so I won't be frustrated or end up being disappointed again. Or perhaps take on any menial labour jobs in order to survive. Thank You.


Posted Tuesday 5th June 2012 01:49:00 AM


I just discovered this Career Doctor last year. when I read Fruit Punch and LB's message, I do have a strong feeling and agreed with them. I have worked in a listed Company for almost 15 years as a Manager. But unfortunately, due to change of top management, I was removed in Oct 2011, I am very scared now as I wrote almost 200 letters, only have 3 feedback for an interview but failed finally. My education background is not competitive at all especially nowadays. I don't have an University degree. I will turn 50 this year in Oct. I am very scared now. As it seems that it is very hard to find a manager job if no degree and at this age. Even I have a very well working experience. My money is almost used up. I really need a job. So I am now trying to change the field but it seems quite hard, but I will not give up as what Alfred's message. Taking this opportunity, I would like to request all of the Employers, Be a fair employer, please give the old age group a chance and don't discriminate on age. Our worth is working experience.


Posted Wednesday 14th March 2012 05:28:00 AM


I agree with that age or sex discrimination truly exists in the labour market. But, never give up, every 40s or 50s mature accountants try to adapt to different types of jobs or government or NGOs. Or, try to collaborate with some friends and colleagues to start a business in long term for our second career before retirement. Never give up and try to adapt to a highly competitive environment with more marketing ourselves at every right timing against right prospect. Cheers

Fruit Punch

Posted Friday 23rd December 2011 12:31:00 AM


I feel a bit of sadness to read over so many response airing from late 40's and 50's. I am also at the early 50's, possessing senior management experience at a Chief Executive capacity, however due to radical power struggle between directors, I was removed and a friend of some directors replaced my position. During the job seeking process, I deeply felt the age discrimation and currently I am working as a HR Manager in a private company. Restarting from a middle level position is so sad as room for achievement is so limited. However I will do my utmost in my capacity and wish one day I will be back to senior management post. To all late 40's and 50's, never give up your dream and always look forward to your target. I believe your efforts devote today will be the great value in tomorrow.

Anne Lau

Posted Thursday 22nd September 2011 04:31:00 AM


Be confident as you're a professional! My case is much worse ... as a matured-student with a BA & MA, in my late 40's, still can't find a stable full time job with decent pay! Only got a part time job with low salary (the hourly-rate is high but work amount is low), some occasional freelance job ... any advice? Many thanks! Anne


Posted Thursday 14th July 2011 05:22:00 AM


I suppose you need a job to earn your daily bread. As you don't seems to mind taking up a more junior position, I think this is the only way out. The age discrimination issue cannot be solved. As least you mentioned that someone could refer you to a potential employer, as this is definitely a way out. Go for it first and also wait for something to come up with the agents. (I am also going through your problem but don't have any referral opportunities.)


Posted Tuesday 22nd February 2011 03:18:50 AM


Hello, CAn a foreign student graduating from HK university with no chinese find a job in HK? Regards


Posted Monday 8th November 2010 01:56:00 AM


Overseas assignments, project finance, risk management, treasury, merger and acquisition, accounting policies and standards, electronic B2B practitioners ??

helmut poon

Posted Saturday 23rd October 2010 04:30:00 AM


I absolutely agree with McKony's point of view as I have experienced it.


Posted Thursday 14th October 2010 10:47:00 PM


I read with interest on the number of people in their 50s seeking a job but with no success. I am in that group. Having co-owned and managed several successful businesses in the past, and having held very senior positions, (I came from a humble beginning and worked my way to the top without any university degree) and since losing the business during the financial recession, I, too, have been trying to secure a job to survive. Fact is it will be a disadvantage at our age, and our experience is a threat to the younger executives (that are given the role to hire staff) which eliminate our application from further consideration. Employment consultancy firms may not really do much as they merely recruit for their clients (employers) based on the given requirements and post 50 years of age is hardly a preferred choice. So here we are - all energetic, experienced and capable people in the 50s trying to get a job that is hard to come by. Why don't we all get together to brainstorm a plan to place us all back into employment. I will be glad to participate. Let's all get together and express our strengths (and weaknesses) to come up with a workable plan - a concerted effort from a group of 50s offering their services with quality and effectiveness - there is the consultancy services sector, the welfare administration sector, the civic education sector, and even the hospitality sector. There will be roles for everyone in the 50s. Let's get together. UNITED we will overcome and our values will be recognised. Let's not despair.


Posted Saturday 9th October 2010 07:07:00 AM


It's a difficult job market out there ..


Posted Monday 9th August 2010 05:30:00 AM


Please try government / NGO, usually they recruit contract accountants and PRC experience is not a critical attribute. The problem with the mid-age accountant is usually in the skill mismatch, senior accounting job is not that much about management anymore, nowadays even junior accountants in the AR AP roles already got CPA qualifications, the key value-added of experience accountant may be in the role of creating useful and timely analysis to the senior management. That's the area young accountants still need to catch up.

mid 40 mummy

Posted Wednesday 4th August 2010 05:51:00 PM


I want to search part time commercial job. But it is not so easy. I suggest you can consider part time teaching. To share your audit/accounting experience with others. teacher is master of classroom. you can gain confidence and polish presentation skills. Maybe consider a full time teaching career. Lecturers are similar age in education sector.

Career Doctor

Posted Thursday 17th June 2010 07:39:00 PM


Your accounting knowledge and skills can never be outdated. Regarding those regulatory issues, accounting professional bodies like ACCA do have regular courses for members to learn and keep their qualifications up-to-date. You’re a qualified accountant, with or without a degree you can still be in management, as you’re a professional. You've proven your value – worked and studied hard to achieve that. You should be proud of it. Why lose faith and confidence? Regarding your lack of experience with listed companies, it can't be and never will be a hurdle as do you know how many SMEs & Private Owned companies there are here in HK? PRC experience can be advantageous but certainly not a must, so don't be distracted. Your direction is right. Target those companies that'll treasure and acknowledge your experience and exposure. Those 3 potential employers must have found your experience relevant, you didn't get it in the end as it might have been due to your lack of confidence, and perhaps your presentation skills. You need to be more expressive and have faith in yourself that you are completely competent and capable. And that age "is" an advantage, that's your true "value"! We don't only grow old, but/and wiser too! Write back to tell us how your interview goes. Good Luck!


Posted Tuesday 15th June 2010 05:55:00 PM


McKony is right. I am over 50 and been out of job for more than six months without PRC/banking experience and my accounting knowledge is a bit out of date. I'm still catching on. Therefore, I try to focus on finding jobs based on my expertise area. By sending out less than 15 letters, I had 3 interviews. However, those companies found better qualified person to fill the post. 3 out of 15 is not bad, so you need to be focus and tailor your resume and covering letter to suit the position advertised. I don't have an accounting degree and manage to shift my career to management. You have a better position than me. Keep up and enjoy the process. By the way, I'll have an interview this week. Hope I can get it this time.


Posted Tuesday 15th June 2010 05:20:00 AM


Why not accept Hong Kong Government re-training programme? Re-training as a building care-taker for example ...


Posted Tuesday 15th June 2010 01:50:00 AM


I agreed there is serious age discrimination in HK job market, I am also in mid age and lost job for two months. Even though I've got some interviews and show my cv an experienced accountant and administrator, I don't think they wants a stranger with mid age staff in office, they looking for a hardwork cow can work for 10 hrs,that's why they want a young, excellent health person in place. So, these time, I open my company selling online and attending lots of seminar and talks to open my mind, not only finding the accounting back office jobs . Adding value to yr service, telling people you can earn money for the company, have the networking of various industries, that's our value in the job market. We need to change, early retirement is just kidding for most people, if I have a good financial situation, I already brought few flats and retired 10 years ago.


Posted Sunday 13th June 2010 11:45:00 PM


This is not the end of the story. May be a new page is ready for you to kick start. If you don't have PRC experience, just kick start now. May be look for a job in China, the area is close to Hong Kong. Or the other way around, try to start a new but small business in China. As small as retail business, you will learn more than you think. Get use to the business environment that can help you a lot for your next step. Or work for a friend who is a SME owner as free for a while, better then sit at home and do nothing or keep on sending CVs. Good Luck and all the best. The demand for goods or service from China is more than you expected, may be you will be one of the successful cases.

Well Wisher

Posted Saturday 12th June 2010 09:35:00 PM


Dear OK, I know it sound depressing, but don’t lose faith. Be positive, you have excellent qualification and experience and definitely something will work out. I am in a similar situation like yours having all the qualification and experience but unable to find any suitable opening although I meet the Job requirement. It’s sad to see the same advertisement the job which you have applied appears again and again in the newspapers, or may even appear after three months, again, and you wonder why your application has not been successful. A right and a good organization take time to find. A good successful organization always has a mix of both talents young and experienced. The young brings in new ideas while the old guides the organization by experience. This is the management concept in most successful organizations. Unfortunately, these management principles are rarely applied. Dear McKony, Again, don’t lose faith, keep trying. Since you have excellent experience and qualification, as a backup plan try and start or develop some business idea which is related to your experience. We all are unique and have different talents and when the opportunity arises just go for it. Don’t make age come in your way. Set yourself a goal or objective and move ahead. Your Well Wisher


Posted Saturday 12th June 2010 05:12:00 PM


PRC / banking / insurance / listed co. experience. It's a bit surprised if you are working in HK but without listed company experience, because lots of SME are listed. Mind telling us what kind of industry or function you are working in before? Commercial and managerial are too general. Nearly most of people are in commercial, right?


Posted Saturday 12th June 2010 12:48:00 AM


When you come to age over 45, you are facing a middle age crisis with serious age discrimination in the job market, the situation is even worse for above 50. There is no solution because: 1. Age always have impression linking to physical ability. 2. Age is difficult for other staff to accept you in junior position, particularly you have good qualification. If your senior is younger than you with lesser experience, she/he would become hesitate to accept you working for them; some of them might even see you as their competition. 3. The past experience often creates barrier for age person to accept new working culture, always comparing with the good old days. Options are: - Create your own small business. - Find out your good expertise and network, if you have any, as outside consultant to bring in new opportunity for small companies. - Retire if your finance situation allows, enjoy life and travel around the world at younger age. Middle age crisis is common especially in today's fast changing and highly competitive world. We cannot change our Karma. Take easy, be happy.