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Your reliable HR-jack or as the labor market suggests: “It has come to the triarii”

The third (most reliable!) line in the fighting order of the Roman legion was known as the “triarii” – the best soldiers who served in the army for over fifteen years. This is where the phrase “it has come to the triarii” stems from, which involves the most experienced to fight.

Well, no wonder that Romans valued experience, skill and long battle spears. After all, “proven fighters” (even if they have nothing to do with the army) always have something to surprise you with. It seems that it is time for our society to realize this as well .

“Ambush statistics”

AboutHR recruiters deal with a range of positions like: CEOs, functional directors (finance, marketing, logistics), heads of offices, project managers, HR managers, etc.

The competition for TOP positions is very high (the number of candidates significantly exceeds the number of vacancies). Losing a job at 40+ can be quite challenging for those professionals.

IT professionals are among the lucky ones to get a new job easily. The share of specialists aged 40+ in this young industry is not yet significant, the average age is up to thirty. 

It is very difficult to find a job for specialists of “non-managerial” vacancies of senior age. Administrators, secretaries, and assistants are usually young people who are just starting their careers and consider this work a transitional stage. Reaching the age of forty you’ve got to reach a higher position otherwise – no longer needed.

But there is another experience! Before opening the agency, I worked at a French law firm and watched 40+ people work as secretaries, assistants, assistant partners, and reception workers. Once we even celebrated the fortieth work anniversary of an employee who always worked in a regular (linear, administrative), non-managerial position.

According to the statistics of the State Statistics Service, more than fifty percent of specialists over the age of forty are on the labor market. In the near future, there will be a shortage not only of “young, energetic and burning desire”, but also of all kinds of employees. Therefore, business owners should think today about the selection and training of people over forty and over fifty. Otherwise, they risk “waking up” in a completely different reality.

There is a will, there is a way!

According to my observations, 40+ specialists do not want to be hired for several reasons. First of all, older people do not always strive to learn and change. Which is vital! You need to master new technologies and software skills, be able to solve issues, cooperate, establish contacts with colleagues of different ages, genders, nationalities.

There are plenty of examples of people like that. A while ago, for example, we looked for a junior recruiter for the agency. One of the candidates, who has 20 years of experience in insurance, said during the interview: “I would like to change my occupation because it is difficult to find a job.” We asked if he understood the employer’s requirements, to which he replied that he would like to be taught, however he refused  to work and study in a virtual office. “They say, it is difficult, it is better to have a “live” training”. He didn’t want to work full time, he was even surprised: “Oh, I thought I could work any time of the day, and go about my business during the day”.

However, there are many good examples. One of our recruiters joined us from a non-governmental organization. He worked there for almost twenty years, held high positions. At some point, the last project ended, and there were no new ones. Thanks to his desire, experience in communications and good English, he quickly mastered the profession of a recruiter and in a few months reached the level of efficiency of a senior one. So, everything depends on the person. If there is a will, be sure, the way is somewhere near.

It happens that older and more experienced professionals are denied employment because they need to be paid more. However, many managers are already convinced that hiring a “cheap” employee, training him for a long time, and then watching him move to competitors – is unprofitable. They hire people with experience (and seniors too!) who are willing to learn.

Fortunately, we work with modern, intelligent managers, so among the agency’s clients, cases of rejection due to gender or age (too young or overqualified) are rare. But still, I sometimes hear (verbally, this is no longer written in vacancies): we do not consider people after forty, because we have a young team and an older person “will not fit.” It’s funny what 40+ managers say.

The last case like this (absolutely ridiculous) happened a few days ago. A potential customer sent the so-called profile of the ideal candidate for the vacancy of an IT specialist. There was something like: “not younger than 25; from the countryside; from a good family; not divorced; without speech defects”. Also there was an instruction to “to be suspicious if a 30+ candidate is single”, “preferably not a girl”and so on. The list contained a dozen discriminatory requests. It turns out that something like this is still a reality.

Face it with a smile

I will not try to convince business owners that ageism (like any other discrimination) is bad and punishable by law. Let’s talk about why hiring middle-aged workers (according to the classification of the World Health Organization is 45-60 years, which means we’ve got 44 carefree years of youth) is profitable.

Employees aged 40-60 can be very beneficial. Most of them are active, do not face difficulties, are ready and able to work, do not tend to change jobs often. They have grown up children, and the employer may not worry about maternity leaves. At the same time employees do not need to choose between work and children, to think what to do with kids when the kindergarten is “quarantined”.

In addition, such specialists are more responsive to crisis situations. Senior colleagues often look at problems at ease unlike some of their younger colleagues. They gained experience in crisis management through trial and error, and their stories of victories and failures are sometimes cooler than adventure series.

Follow the Queen’s lead!

There is no doubt, 40+ people still need a lot of effort to meet the demands of a changing labor market. 

For example, this age is a great time to start learning English. This can be done, for example, “in class” with the Queen of Great Britain. No, this is not a joke, this is how a foreign language is taught in one of the communities of Ukraine. The teacher signed the whole group to Queen Elizabeth’s account, so the news of the royal family, travel, clothes, weather and more are among the topics to discuss.

You can’t do without English today. But this need can be turned into a pleasure – join a group and enjoy laughing, communication and learning with other students a few times a week. 

It is never too late to learn and improve your knowledge. In our agency, for example, there are more customers who do not speak Ukrainian. That’s why we all develop our English skills: we expand our vocabulary, we do a lot of listening, and four employees work with teachers from the UK via Skype.

I also advise job-seekers to pay attention to their CVs: write it as best as possible (and without mistakes!). It is worth writing about your strengths, mentioning successful projects. It is a good idea to create a resume in a special “editor” in color. Pay a special attention to the courses that you have taken and which are relative to the vacancy. Everything should be clear, concise, beautiful and simple!

Keep the ball rolling

By the way, if you are a proud owner of a big or small business, an HR manager or just a super-pro, do not relax! Once you’ve got the ball rolling you can’t let it stop. Many professionals had to go back to page one and start a career from scratch. It all depends on what the market “says”.

I have an example of a radical change of an occupation of one of my friends, who successfully graduated from a medical school and worked as a psychiatrist at a private office (he did not practice as a doctor because of low salaries) for seven years. At the age of thirty, he decided to retrain into an IT specialist. He did not procrastinate and after seven months (as much time was spent on choosing the major, courses and interviews) he worked as an intern in the first project. In my opinion, this is a great investment of time and money in your own development. In 2-3 years, this specialist will forget that he once worried about whether there would be enough money to feed the family.

 

Summarizing it all – do not stop studying. Use YouTube, Prometheus, Coursera, your local organizations and everything that you can find useful. It is not a shame to study. New skills and competencies will become your “triary spear”, with which you will definitely get new professional victories.