This article examines the concept of employability as applied to older workers. It argues that much of the lack of success experienced by older job seekers in securing employment may be based on the mismatch between what older job seekers believe employers want and what employers are seeking. It reports data from a small sample of older South Australians who were interviewed concerning their perceived employment choices, now and in the past, their self assessed skill currency, their judgements as to their employability, and their explanation for success or failure in seeking employment. Overwhelmingly interviewees believed themselves employable and their skills current, yet these optimistic beliefs are seldom confirmed by labour market success. Those who were successful seemed distinguished in two ways – either they had been able to tap into opportunities through personal networks or they had developed a new skill where the competition was less intense and this enabled them to command an income. Taking charge of their lives, analysing their situation in a strategic way, initiating actions where the likelihood of a successful outcome was higher, creating demand for what they could offer were all strategies that led to employment. However, such behaviours may not be typical of this age group. Interview data clearly showed that it was the more resilient individuals who coped more effectively and that these individuals were more successful in securing reemployment.
CitationDownload as .RIS
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited