Laid Off Baby Boomers Seek Entry-Level Jobs

Those that have jobs are delaying retirement

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When you’re laid off at age 50 or older it can be tough to find a new job with the same level of seniority. Some out-of-work baby boomers are now applying for positions on a lower rung of the organizational ladder. The majority (63 percent) of workers age 55 and older who were laid off in the last 12 months say they have applied for jobs below the level at which they were previously employed, according to a recent online survey of 921 laid-off workers by Harris Interactive and CareerBuilder. About 44 percent of the baby boomers surveyed said employers told them they were overqualified for the desired position.

A related survey of 2,667 hiring managers and human resource professionals with influence in hiring decisions found that just over a quarter have received entry-level job applications from workers over age 50 (26 percent) and retirees (11 percent). A few employers (7 percent) even said older workers have applied for internships at their organizations.

[See Internships for Elders.]

Most of the hiring managers (65 percent) said they would consider the experienced candidates, even if they are overqualified for the position. About 29 percent of the employers surveyed have hired a worker age 50 or older for any permanent position within their organization ranging from entry-level to senior-level to consultants over the last six months. Only 4 percent of the hiring managers say they have hired interns over age 50, but 55 percent would be willing to consider older workers for their internship programs.

Some of the baby boomers who were laid off in the last 12 months have managed to find new jobs. Unfortunately, almost half of them (48 percent) took a pay cut. Another 40 percent of the baby boomers landed positions with similar pay and 13 percent even boosted their earnings. Those that didn’t find jobs say they are considering relocating to another city or state to find employment (41 percent) and starting their own business (23 percent).

[Find out why Career Changers After Age 50 Are Permanently Worse Off.]

Employers are also receiving requests from current workers to stay with the company longer. About 21 percent of the managers surveyed said that current employees approaching retirement age have asked to postpone their retirement in the last 6 months. Many of the employers said they were open to postponing retirement dates to hold on to their employee’s intellectual capital (65 percent), so that the older workers can help train and mentor others (61 percent), because these workers know how to weather a tough economy (42 percent), and for more time to transition responsibilities (36 percent).

[Check out these 7 Tips for Finding a Job After 50.]

Tell us, have you applied for a new job at a lower level than your previous position?