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Career Doctor
Is Age Really An Issue?
posted on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 16:03

I am turning 54 in June.  I spent my past 10 years in PA/secretarial roles in the executive search business.  I lost my last job (in fact I resigned) due to my employer signaled that I could not work there any more (due to the financial crisis).  Since then I've been in the job market for 9 months. Frankly I had only two interviews so far; the other interviews were general talks with employment agencies.  Some of the applications I sent to the other search firms or replying to ads, were requiring exactly the type of experience I had.  Of course they were not obliged to hire me, but not offering a chance of interview had been disappointing.  Is age really a concern?

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Anonymous's picture
Posted Saturday, 28 May 2011 08:48 PM

Hi All

Just an update, I found a job at last. It took me 20 months, but I finally found an employer who don't discriminate on age.

I must say experience counts with age, but not work attitude. Many employers thought that young people works faster and are more productive. Not true. In my past workplaces, young employees took turn to take sick leave and made excuses to be absent. These never happened to me. But it's a general norm that employers like young employee for cheaper salary and that they may think that the older employees may have generation gap to be accepted by the young ones in the office. This may be one of the reasons that employers hesitate to hire senior candidates.

Anonymous's picture
Career Consultant
Posted Friday, 02 July 2010 12:01 PM

Browsing through the comments relating to old age. I disagree that firms should not interview candidates who are in their 50's or being termed old aged. There are a lot of well experienced candidates who not only possess the required experience and knowledge, their maturity brings with them tolerance and the ability to accommodate the younger colleagues because they have the good sense to just get the job done and don't bother to play unproductive politics in the office. I cannot even begin to tell what an aged employee can contribute to any organization with the vast life experience and abundant work related insights to employers who are willing to give a chance to good people without discriminating against them based on a single factor - their age. Have you any idea what the magnitude of some young and inexperienced employees who don't give a damn if they can deliver, their irresponsibility caused no small amount of damage to organization's budget just to rectify and resolve inexperienced employee's mistakes and self righteousness.

Employers who has the ability to think outside the box reaps much benefits by hiring mature employees for their diligence and wealth of knowledge to deliver what their jobs required.

Hong Kong being a fast paced city, we appreciate efficiency and know-hows to achieve our goals. If the person by nature is an efficient person, no matter if they are in their late 40s or 50s, they just work efficiently. If a young person who has a procrastinate nature, they will drag on their work. To sum up, it really is individually based.

I am a great believer that mature employees are the gems of any organization if they still possess a clean bill of health. If the person has what it takes to do the job, why not give them a chance to interview them!?

If matured people can afford to take life easy, I have no doubt they would opt to do so, but not every matured person can afford to retire. I just wish all age discriminating and inflexible thinking people can put aside their ignorance and give matured workers a chance.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Saturday, 15 May 2010 07:41 AM

I'm afraid she may find it extremely difficult to join any firm as a consultant, she's only a PA/secretary in consultancy firm.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Thursday, 13 May 2010 11:13 AM

Your age can become your asset if you are in the consultancy business. Clients look favourably at a consultant with the necessary paper and professional qualifications plus years of relevant experience. Not sure if you have considered joining a consultancy firm as such companies would welcome matured people with the necessary qualifications and skill sets. You will have better chance with a consultancy firm as what they want is your brain-power that comes through years of accumulated experience.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Thursday, 13 May 2010 06:13 AM

How about early retirement? It is already a treasure to work till 50s in PA/Secretarial jobs. The job loss is foreseeable since your 40s and you shouldn't be surprised or frustrated now, especially where you are in HK. You should thank god and enjoy your retirement life.

Career Doctor's picture
Career Doctor  
Posted Friday, 07 May 2010 12:04 PM

Please be realistic, I wouldn't tell you it isn't!

Apart from age, your salary could be another issue. Especially in the executive search business we're in, don't know if you know I'm a headhunter myself, business has been really tough and difficult since the currency crisis outbreak in 1997. Try to look the other way round, you're lucky to be able to secure your job during these tough times.

Honestly speaking, I don't quite admire your attitude, why should any company or anyone offer you any interview? Offering you chances for interviews to waste each other's time just to give your false hopes? What would you say in the end? You'll write here and express your disappointment for not offering you the job then why ask you to go attend interviews?

I'm not saying finding a job or having a stable income is not important. That's why we should be prepared to face the fact that we'll unavoidably be losing our competitiveness and employ-ability one day, you're not alone!

Instead of looking for full time jobs, perhaps you could look around for temp/contract jobs, doesn't have to stick to search firms, secretarial and admin skills are fully transferable.

But please, first take away your sourness and bitterness, be positive and enthusiastic, and be flexible. Life's short, be nice and kind to yourself, and try enjoying it as much as you can.

God will not close one door without opening another, be strong!

Anonymous's picture
Johnny Phang
Posted Friday, 07 May 2010 12:47 AM

You can bet your life age is an issue. MOST or nearly all Hong Kong employers focus on speed and low pay and that means hiring someone young or at least younger. They are not prepared to invest in your experience. I read about an overseas company that employs the same percentage (say 15-20%) of young inexperienced workers and experienced retirees. They found that productivity actually improved because the young and old were able to learn from each other to minimize their deficiencies. Hong Kong employers are not in any mood to try this out because the pace of work and life here is so demanding. They just want instant gratification thinking that anything else would be disastrous. The latest survey shows other Chinese cities catching up with Hong Kong in terms of business/work-related issues. Well, if you keep running at your old pace, others will catch up or we simply fall behind. God save Hong Kong.

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