19 October 2018

Are companies willing to hire older candidates?

On August 29, in a television address to the nation, Vladimir Putin spoke about the planned pension reform. The next debate in the State Duma on the draft bill on raising the retirement age is scheduled for late September. The recruitment company Antal has asked employers how it is likely to affect their hiring policy, if this law is adopted.

Today, most employers say that employees aged over 50 make up less than 5% of their staff. However, in some companies the share of older employees exceeds 20% of the headcount.


Most companies (60%) currently don't think that the prospective raising of the retirement age will affect their business, while 22% of respondents find it hard to foresee the likely consequences of such a law.

However, some employers have already started to consider possible changes in their staff management that will be necessary after a significant growth in the number of older candidates on the job market: 8% of employers are planning to alter their incentives scheme, 6% will reconsider their hiring policy, and 5% are going to adjust their corporate training system and corporate culture. It's worth mentioning that as few as 37% of employers currently say that they have an official policy on workforce diversification and on providing equal rights to all candidates.


At the moment, candidates aged over 50 are in the lowest demand at the job market. According to Antal Job Market Overview 2018, this age group has the smallest share of those who received new job offers over the past year.


"It's true that employers look at candidates' age. As early as after 40, candidates may encounter certain difficulties in job searching; after 45 or 50 the situation gets even worse. Every year, we find employment for about a thousand managers. Of these candidates aged over 50 make up about 1 per cent.

Remarkably, the situation when older candidates are considered less willingly is rather more common in international companies operating in Russia. One of the reasons is the age of the hiring managers themselves. Some managers find it uncomfortable to hire subordinates who are older than themselves. Some just feel ill at ease in such a situation, others lack managing competencies. This is why a manager aged 30 to 40 is likely to prefer making a job offer to a younger candidate. Russian employers generally lay slightly less stress on the candidate's age.

A certain bias of employers against older candidates forces some candidates to resort to deceit. They put a lower age in their CV so that they can pass the first screening and be invited to an interview. In person, they often have every chance to prove that they are well suited for the position. After that, the situation can have two continuations: when the truth leaks out, some employers turn a blind eye to this and make a job offer because the candidate has managed to win the employer's favour at the interview; in the other scenario the employer rejects the candidate as a matter of principle because the candidate's conduct was unethical. Meanwhile, it's employers themselves who drive candidates to lying because candidates know that sometimes they are certain to be filtered out because of their age, however suitable they might be for the vacancy," – comments Antal manager Angelina Voskresenskaya.

Candidates aged over 50 understand that their position at the job market is far from advantageous. Moreover, starting from 40, every second employee feels competition from younger colleagues and is uncertain about his or her career.


Candidates over 50 make concessions more willingly when discussing their employment. Of the respondents aged over 50, 26% don't expect a salary increase when they move to a new job. To compare, of the candidates aged 25 to 30, the share of those who don't expect a pay rise with a new job is as small as 4%.


"The idea that with advancing years a person is getting less employable is largely a misconception. Flexibility of mind and adaptability are personal traits unrelated to age. While some people, regretfully, can't demonstrate these qualities even at twenty, others remain active, energetic, and curious at sixty.

We should break down the stereotype that people become inefficient after they reach a certain age. Besides their professional and personal experience, employees aged over 50 have other advantages compared to their younger colleagues. They are ready to work steadily and conscientiously, staying in the same position for many years. Their career ambitions are now moderate, they aren't distracted by their family life because their children are probably grown-up now, and so they can stay fully committed to their work. The stereotype that after 40 people start to get ill more often isn’t quite true either. Employees of all ages take sick leaves," – Angelina Voskresenskaya adds.

*The survey was conducted in August 2018 by means of an online questionnaire. It covered 122 Russian and international companies from 16 industry sectors. The job market survey was conducted in April 2018. It covered 8,528 specialists and mid-level and senior managers.

**Antal is one of the leading recruitment companies in Russia and the CIS specialising in middle and senior management recruitment in various industry sectors. Antal entered the Russian market in 1994 and is now a part of Antal International, an international group with over 150 offices located worldwide. Antal operates all over Russia and the CIS countries. The company's representative offices are located in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Almaty.