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Unemployment – the silent killer of the middle aged

Unemployment: the silent killer of the middle aged. The Diary of the Employable Blogaholic returns!

About 4 years ago, when I still loved and worked in high street recruitment, I began to noticed a marked increase in candidates who had either been made redundant or feared it was on the cards. You began to feel an extra weight of responsibility, as at that time the job market had begun to tighten somewhat. Companies that would have previously openly welcomed a particular candidate’s experience no longer did and began instead to streamline, tighten their belts, or at worse, close down.

Perhaps understandably, it led to a culture of fear in our own office. Even a year or two previous, having good experience in recruitment, HR and most importantly for a job in recruitment – sales, would have meant that you would have been able to at least consider a couple of job possibilities, should you lose your job.

However now, with the levels of ‘unemployed’ applicants increasing, you dealt with unemployed, but very experienced candidates, as much as you did, the employed, but hungry to move on job seeker, who just wanted a new challenge. And you feared your own career going forward.

The difficulty was that this middle management, middle aged, mid range applicant, were no longer that difficult to find, in fact if a job of note came in – they were probably either too specific or over experienced in their work history to be considered.

I was reading an article in the Guardian last weekend, where the plight of the unemployed and in particular women aged 50+ was highlighted. Statistically they are the employment group most affected by the recession and the continued downturn in the job market.

It took me back to my time in recruitment, and the fear you could feel from both the middle aged man and woman who came into the office in search of work. It made me consider, right now, who is representing their employment struggle – the feeling they have that they are on a permanent job seeking scrap heap?

Politicians talk a good talk about unemployment – with some action. They focus on the million plus young NEET (not in education, employment or training) and clamber on the media lead campaign to help improve youth employment. And rightly so.

TheEmployment has also supported many private and funded schemes; Battlefront, the recent Benetton Unemployee of the year, the Youth Employment UK campaign – all schemes to improve the job chances, employability and focus on and of youth employment.

However, where is the support for the middle aged and mid career level applicant that becomes unemployed? The jobcentre can’t or don’t really help, the recruitment agencies can only help sporadically, and the press remain reasonably quiet about the whole turgid affair. Fair play to the Guardian for running with a story that isn’t getting the publicity it should.

But what do we lose? We lose experienced workers, knowledge, skills, passion, quality. Imagine if every retiring footballer, never considered becoming coaches, managers or referees. You would lose a generation of skills, experience, and more importantly, been-there-and-done-that knowledge.

Unemployment within the middle aged and older is the silent killer, but not just of the middle aged job seeker, but the job market and business scene full stop.

TheEmployable look forward to hearing back from anyone who is aware of any campaigns to improve employment that does not just focus on the NEET so that we can support their efforts too.

Hail The Employable!

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