Recruiting – the same old story

Once again we are told that “the UK economy is suffering as a result of a serious shortage of skilled labour” but still we ignore one area that has the skill and ability to assist in the development of other sections of staff – yes, the old folk, those over the age of 35 years.

Having returned from working in Europe I thought it would have been fairly simple to gain some form of worthwhile employment, but amazingly I find that, as I am 50 years of age, it is near-impossible to even get an interview.

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with some friends who are all senior directors. The subject of age came up and I explained my situation and asked what their companies’ policies were towards elder applicants, and in all cases except one they said they would not have a problem, and in many cases encouraged older applicants. However, one of the directors stated that he did not know what the situation was in his company but made a quick telephone call to his human resources director to ask the question. The immediate response was that they did not have an upper age limit, but the company did not receive many, if any, applicants in the upper age group.

The human resources director said he would find out from his agencies why this was and get back to him as soon as possible. As we were having coffee the HR director made contact with his director and told him that the agency they used preferred to put forward younger candidates as they felt they were more dynamic and were able to offer the company more in the long term. The net result of this conversation is that the company now advertises direct and looks at qualifications, and more importantly experience, when looking to improve its workforce.

A recent study has confirmed that, in many cases, employers do not know what criteria are being used by agencies to find staff. It’s sad but unfortunately true.

Malcolm Wallace

B2B European Marketing Communications

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