Generations and the Job Search: Who’s Having a Harder Time?

When it comes to the job market, there’s been a lot of talk about how grim things are for two different spectrums of the labor pool. Recent reports show that both new grads and mature workers are likely to have a hard time finding work right now.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that over 1 million people 55 and older are unemployed and looking for work. Many mature workers are delaying retirement due to the recession. The AARP Public Policy Institute reports that the ones who are looking for jobs will typically search about a third longer than those younger than 55.

But this year, things also look tough for the college crowd. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ reported that employers expect to hire 22% fewer new graduates than in 2008, and internship hiring is also down by about 21%. Experts say that in an expanding labor pool, new graduates typically have less experience than others in their industry who are now also looking for work, lengthening the job search process.

When it comes to generations in the workplace, the Baby Boomer generation and the Millennial generation have different values and views, but in the job search, experts say both generations must adapt to a quick learning curve and apply every job search tactic available to bolster their chances of landing a gig. So, we want to know what you think.

Have more thoughts or insights into these two generations on the job hunt? Do you fall into one of these two groups and have a story to share with us or a question to ask? Share your feedback in the comments section.


  1. P Price

    I just started my own high tech defense corporation a couple of years ago. The point I want to make is that I primarily look for personnel who are well-seasoned and who have experience. I do not actively recruit new grads. Although education is a wonderful plus, I need folks who can hit the ground running, so to speak.
    Moreover, one of the nice things about my company is that we are prepared to accomodate our employees’ education once they have started with us.
    So I would admonish college students to at least gain valuable experience as interns and/or externs for that matter – well, in order to make themselves more marketable in my industry.

  2. Arlene

    I think with the advent of the internet and e-commerce, the paradigm changed at least as far as office support (administrative assistants and executive assistants) goes. I am finding more administrative assistant positions where knowledge of Front Page or some web authoring tool knowledge is necessary for the position. Back in 1996-97 website updates were done usually by the IT department now companies are expecting more technical skills but not necessarily pay and adequately for those skills.

  3. Linda

    I am a “mature worker” and I have gone through periods of 14-20 months of unemployment at a time. the older one gets, the harder it is to get hired. Just because one is not “cute”, doesn’t wear short, tight clothes, etc doesn’t mean that person can’t do the job. There is considerable discrimination against mature workers–and mature workers are the group that know what a job is about, what going to work is about.

  4. Susan

    I was fortunate at 60 to land a very good job where I have been appreciated for my intelligence, ability to learn, and desire to hold down a job. It was touch and go for a while before I got this job; I had to go back to work after being retired since 2004 due to a divorce. I just kept at it, networked a lot through friends and on my own. I thank God for this job.

  5. Connie

    In this market, employers can pick and choose and why take risks? They want neither to take on a person who might be set in their ways nor a person who will have responsibility issues. There are far too many available in late twenties through thirties, who are always the first choice for experience with flexibility. The rest of us are toast!

  6. Linda

    I am a mature worker whose mid-manager position was eliminated 17 months ago. I had built up my department over 18+ years, earned three college degrees, and published two editions of a website design textbook when the bottom fell out.
    Still I firmly believe you’re only as old as your ideas and that you just have to keep learning, growing and knocking on doors.
    So good luck to new grads and mature workers alike who are in the job hunt! We all need our “luxuries,” you know water, electricity, food…

  7. Liz

    I believe that the market is most difficult for those who have graduated college in the last 5-10 years. This demographic will include those who have grad school, but also may include those who have not been able to build up time with an employer. As one who has had to change jobs, the lack of “2 years experience” in my field has been a challenge. Those with that experience, or who are getting ready to start the search have maturity, or are lower on the salary scale and seem to be a bit more attractive.

  8. Rena Coomer

    I have never had difficulty gaining employment….until now! 99% of the time, if I got the interview, I got the job ..until now! I don’t think the reason is really my age, but my previous level of employment. I’ve been there and now I choose NOT to go back. I have tried lots of things and found my “niche”..which isn’t senior management. I am also seeking a position with less hours so I can take care of aging parents. However, I just keep getting the “…and exactly WHY are you wanting THIS position. It makes me want to scream! “Seasoning” does mean experience. “Seasoning” also means you KNOW what you want at this point in the game.

  9. Robbie L. McCutchen

    I am a 53 year old female looking for work,with years of experience ,but in this day and age employers are hiring younger less experience workers than experience workers like myself. so good luck to those Baby Boomers like myself with your job search. Posted by Robbie McCutchen

  10. Steve

    I am a veteran, over 50 and have worked for 30 years in operations support for a few major corporations and a couple of state universities. Having a good education, and an in demand skillset are not enough to get and keep a job nowdays. I have worked for the past ten years as a consultant and I have been out of work since November. I have a good work ethic and I am always ready to do what ever is needed. Finding a job and keeping it is not easy and it has gotten worse in the past several years because of office politics. There is always something going on behind the scenes and most of us haven’t got any idea what is in store for us.
    I am not old enough to retire, but I can’t buy a job in this economic wasteland. There are no secrets for success; keeping your career on track today has more to do with luck and less to do with you than ever before. You literally have to be in the right place at the right time today to have a job and succeed. Once you get past a certain age employers treat you like a leper. I have worked next to some real dead wood in the past couple of years that had unions to back them up, and they were literally worthless as employees but they have jobs. It’s a matter of finding your “golden ticket” apparently. Once you have found the sweet spot, you can stay until retirement in some of these places, even if your productivity is nil.
    It used to matter how hard you worked and how loyal you were to, “the company”, but today nobody cares. I am finding that when you have a good work record and experience it means nothing.

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