Overqualified for Your New Job

Older workers are changing careers to find work.


Many laid off workers had to take a step back down the career ladder to find work. Americans who found a new job after a layoff are generally less satisfied in their new positions and more likely to consider themselves overqualified that those who have been continuously employed, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

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Over a quarter (26 percent) of the 139 million currently employed workers have suffered at least one job loss since December 2007, the telephone survey of 2,967 people ages 18 and older conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International found. Most re-employed workers (54 percent) consider themselves overqualified for their current position, compared to 36 percent of employees who did not lose their job. And just over a quarter (26 percent) of re-employed workers who used to have a full time job now work only part time.

[See 30 Fast-Growing Careers for Older Workers.]

Many workers are struggling financially due to underemployment. Survey respondents report that their family is now worse off financially (55 percent). Some employees have had to make major changes to their lifestyle because of the economy (35 percent).

While unemployed, these successful jobseekers employed a variety of strategies to find work. Younger workers often went back to school or relocated to a new city. Nearly half (47 percent) of reemployed workers ages 18 to 29 say they considered moving to a new place with better opportunities, compared with 22 percent of those age 50 or older. And 44 percent of 20-somethings pursued job retraining or sought more schooling to help them find a job, compared to a quarter (26 percent) of those over 50.

[See 7 Tips for Working for a Younger Boss.]

The most popular job search strategy for older workers was to change occupations. Some 62 percent of re-employed workers over 50 changed career fields or seriously thought about doing so, compared to 55 percent of young people.

Tell us, do you feel overqualified for your current job?