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Why Are Older Women Discriminated Against in Job Interviews?

Why Women Over 50 Can’t Find Jobs

older women workingIf you’re a woman over the age of 50, finding work has statistically gotten harder since 2008.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently published a study that showed that half of women over 50 who are unemployed are long-term unemployed. So what’s going on? – Ageism!

What explains discrimination against older women in job interviews?

This is a really interesting finding, because men seem to be exempt from this bias thinking in job interviews. The fact that women are the ones that don’t get the jobs when they’re over 50 and looking for work does make some sense.

The reason this makes a little since is because a lot of what women do in their lives is punctuated by time outside of the labor market such as taking care of family, taking care of children and women’s labor has always been devalued.

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So if you have an older woman coming to you and applying for a job, you’re going to think about what kind of experiences she had, what kind of skills she might have. Rightly or wrongly, and probably unfairly, you’re going to assume that she had some time out of the labor market and that she was doing something that was basically worthless, because she wasn’t being paid for it.

The fact that caring labor is devalued in our society is something we’re going to have to confront when more and more people have to be cared for as they get older. But what it does right now is that it hits a woman really, really hard when she’s trying to get hired.

What’s going through the mind of the employer?

The employer is probably thinking, “Alright. I have a job applicant who doesn’t have the experience that I value.” That employer is also probably a man, and he’s living with a woman who he probably didn’t pay to do all that labor for him.

So he’s thinking about his partner, who he probably loves very much, but whose work he probably devalues, and he’s thinking about this job applicant that doesn’t have the experience he can recognize.

One big problem is that we all live, including this employer, in a patriarchal society, and the very definition of patriarchy is that women’s lives, women’s skills, what women are offering up, their potential economic value, is all devalued.

So we all know that women’s economic value is less than men’s. Women are paid less in almost every job. But what’s surprising is that the chances of women getting a job after age 50 are a lot lower than men’s chances of getting a job.
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So How Do You Overcome This Ageism Bias?

If you’re over 50 and in the job search, you may be encountering a few challenges. Maybe you haven’t job searched in a while, or maybe you are experiencing some age bias, or employers telling you you’re “too qualified” for the job.

As an older worker, you do have a stereotype to deal with. The perception is that older workers can’t take orders from younger bosses, they don’t do technology, they resist change, they lack energy, maybe they have health problems, and they cost too much.

The good news is that because you’re over 50, you have a few advantages in the job search that younger workers don’t have. And it’s easier than you think to overcome the obstacles in your way.

As an older worker, you probably have a truckload of experience you can draw on to solve problems. Present yourself as a solution to their problems. You have the knowledge, you have the experience, and you are a resource. You don’t have to be trained. You can produce from Day One.

Those are all huge pluses for you as a candidate. Concentrate on selling yourself as that in the job search.

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Action Plan

Get in front on the Hiring Manager – Your future boss! You need to do more than just apply for jobs online because it only gets to Human Resources. That puts you in competition with many younger job seekers.

Take Action – Sign up for our next webinar “Stop Applying for Jobs–and Get Hired Instantly

Cover letter has to catch the eye of the Hiring Manger which then makes them what to read your resume. Sign up for our 5 Simple Tips To Beat Age Discrimination webinar to learn more.

Take Action – Download our Free e-report “How to Write a Job Winning Cover Letter

Edit your Resume – As an older person (and especially a women) you have to have a resume of top quality. You Resume has to be thinned down to 2 pages. Most older job seekers don’t know how to do this. We will show you how.

Take Action – Sign up for our next webinar “Guide to Job Over 50 into Ageism

Have a 30-60-90-day plan with you on the interview – You got to have this plan at your age, without you will stay unemployed. Again we show you how to create a 30-60-90-day plan that will get you the job offer.

Take Action – Sign up for our next webinar “5 Tips to Battle Ageism

Webinars – Join in on one or more of our Free Webinars. There you will learn about the problems and how to overcome them. In these webinars, you will have the opportunity to ask questions live to the host.

Download one of your e-Report pdf’s to learn more off line. Look in your right margin to see our free downloadable reports.


PBS NewshourMaking Sense.
Discussion and Video: Why women over 50 face can’t find jobs.



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