New York Daily News

Seniors scoring jobs

Employers hiring older workers at higher rate

- BYELIZABET­H LAZAROWITZ elazarowit­z@nydailynew­

WHEN JERRY Iannaccone was laid off from his job as a company’s facilities manager two years ago, he wasn’t about to grab a rocking chair and fade into retirement.

“I have too much to offer,” the 67-year-old Staten Island resident said. “I’ve worked for over 40 years. I’ve learned enough to be of value to somebody.”

His new employer agreed. After seven months of searching, he snagged a job in client services at career counseling and outplaceme­nt firm The Five O’Clock Club, helping others find jobs.

“(Employers) are finally realizing that there is a value to the experience that they don’t get with a new graduate or somebody who is three to five years into their career,” Iannaccone said.

While workers over the age of 55 are still facing big job-search challenges, they are finding work in the wake of the recession, a study released on Monday showed.

Employees 55 and older have made up 70% of job gains since the start of 2010, totaling nearly 3 million jobs, according to an analysis by outplaceme­nt firm Chal- lenger, Gray & Christmas.

The second-biggest job increase — among those aged 20 to 24 — totaled just under 1 million.

“It’s not that there is no age discrimina­tion, but seniors are making gains,” said John Challenger, CEO of the outplaceme­nt firm.

Many employers view older workers as less in need of job training and less likely to jump ship quickly, he said.

The unemployme­nt rate among that age group has also ticked lower, falling to 6.5% this May from 7.1% two years ago, the report showed.

“Older workers are now more in demand than they were five or 10 years ago,” said The Five O’Clock Club President Kate Wendleton.

“When employers have a choice, they say, ‘I need someone who’s seasoned and who will be up and running.’ ”

Still, older workers tend to grapple with long-term unemployme­nt more than their younger peers.

The median length of joblessnes­s for older job seekers was 35 weeks in 2011, compared with 26 weeks for younger ones, according to a recent Government Accountabi­lity Office report.

Last year, more than one-third of unemployed workers over 55 were out of work for more than a year, up from 11% in 2007, the GAO said.

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