Good News for Older Executives: The "Age of Concern" has Gone Up with “Age of Placement”

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As the workforce grows older, so does the point where age becomes a negative factor, according to search firms surveyed by ExecuNet.

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Does Gray Matter in the C-Suite?

Although age discrimination is still a reality for the older executive, recruiters say it’s less of an issue because the skills they seek in today’s world increasingly relate to experience and judgment — things often found in more experienced executives.

Search firms have upped the age that they consider a significant factor in hiring decisions to age 57. This “age of concern” -- the age that is a significant negative factor -- had been gradually increasing since 2004, when it was 51.2, reveals ExecuNet’s 20th annual Executive Job Market Intelligence Report. The report also highlights that the “age of placement” of executives placed by search firms has increased from 45 to 50 since 2007.

This good news should assuage some of the fears of top-level executives over 50 who are concerned that their age is a negative when it comes to making a career move -- as depicted in ExecuNet’s latest infographic “Does Gray Matter in the C-Suite?”

“Although age discrimination is still a reality for the older executive, recruiters say it’s less of an issue because the skills they seek in today’s world increasingly relate to experience and judgment — things often found in more experienced executives,” says Mark Anderson, president of ExecuNet.

While the survey data does find that 63 percent of search firms say it can be harder to place executives over 50, up from 52 percent in 2007 in 2010, many companies recognize and appreciate the benefits of hiring the 50+ executive.

Top 10 Advantages to Hiring Executives Over 50*
1. Depth and breadth of experience
2. Business knowledge
3. Credibility in the field
4. Politically savvy/influential
5. Good judgment
6. Work ethic
7. Decision-making ability
8. Wide range of contacts
9. People skills
10. Emotional stability
*as reported by corporate recruiters to ExecuNet

Successful tactics to selling yourself, if you are over 50, include having personal marketing materials that brand, package, market and pre-sell what you can do for your next company and emphasize what you are passionate and expert in. “Avoiding keywords that telegraph your age or that indirectly raise an issue before you get the interview is key,” reports Don Weintraub, managing director of ExecuNet’s Performance Improvement and Career Services team.

About ExecuNet
Since 1988, ExecuNet has helped business leaders shape positive change to achieve what’s next in their individual lives. From its beginnings as a small gathering of executives in Connecticut, ExecuNet has evolved into a private network of over 250,000 senior-level executive members with a belief in the transformative potential of trusted insight, real connections and personal introductions to help them find meaningful new work, advance in their careers, better manage the growth of their businesses, and become high-value leaders. A recognized authority in executive employment, retention and recruitment, as well as human capital trends, ExecuNet keeps its members informed about what’s important to them in business and their careers.

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Mark M. Anderson, President & Chief Economist
ExecuNet
203-750-1030 126
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