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Published 19 February 2013 08:19, Updated 10 April 2013 07:40
Age has not wearied him ... superstar investor Warren Buffet is still doing multi-billion dollar deals at 82. Photo: Getty Images
Let’s talk about the age paradox. The most powerful age in business today is 53, the average of the country’s top 50 CEOs.
Yet when other people celebrate the same birthday they seem destined for the career scrap heap.
How can that be?
Mid-life CEOs are carefully chosen for their wisdom, experience and ability, so why would those same qualities be worthless in their employees?
It now takes an average 73 weeks for people aged 55 and older to get a job, compared with 36 weeks for all job seekers. That is twice as long – more than a year before someone gives them a go.
The reasons are varied. It could be that older people are looking for more senior positions and there are fewer available at that level, but there is also a wide acknowledgement that hiring managers, who are generally young, see a middle-aged person and just think: “old”.
Well, there’s nothing wrong with old.
Just ask media magnate Rupert Murdoch (81), billionaire investor Warren Buffett (82), Queen Elizabeth II (86), director/actor Clint Eastwood (82), Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe (83), architect Lord Richard Rogers (79) or writer Clive James (73).
Just try telling them it is time to retire.
Director of Selection Partners Danny Busija says there is often an education process that older people need to go through when they find themselves looking for a job for the first time in many years.
For instance, they need to know that many companies automate their recruitment systems and their application may never be seen by human eyes – which means they need to have the right key words and format to give themselves the best shot at getting the job.
And, although social media may have little relevance to their job, they need to know enough to be able to speak the lingo convincingly and they must, must, must have a decent LinkedIn profile and flattering headshot.
Busija offers five tips to help the over-50s turn their age into a strength in a job interview: