Has ageism in hiring increased during the pandemic?

Last updated: June 25, 2024
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Lenin Pina
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Has ageism in hiring increased during the pandemic?
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Finding a job in today’s COVID-19 economy is more challenging than ever, especially for highly skilled and experienced workers 55 and older. More than half of unemployed older workers are already at risk of “involuntary retirement” due to the pandemic because they can’t find a new and competitive jobs to match their acquired skills, experience and income levels.

According to US economic experts the unemployment rate for older workers, (55 years and older), has been steadily increasing since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Experts attribute this rise in furloughs and layoffs partly because older workers receive higher pay and more attractive benefits than their younger counterparts, making them attractive targets for strapped companies looking to reduce their business costs.

Older workers can be highly vulnerable to layoffs in times of economic uncertainty and have more difficulty getting rehired at previous wages when displaced.


Older workers have started taking on “bridge jobs”, (a short-term job following a full-time career), in order to supplement their income until they can manage or afford full retirement. Common “bridge job” examples industries include retail, warehouse, transportation/delivery and office support. These jobs often involve more person to person contact or can’t be done remotely, which might dissuade older people from taking on the work during a high risk health crisis like COVID-19.

It’s no secret, older workers are at high risk of experiencing age discrimination in hiring right now. Today, employers worry about an older workers increased vulnerability to COVID-19 if hired or when they return back to the workplace. Employers are also closely evaluating an older workers potential for higher healthcare costs, their ability to work with younger colleagues and whether their technology skills are up to date.

My age! Soon as they see im older I get the look. And im usually considered young looking for my age. It's horrible. Companies do not want people over 55 it's a liability thing. They think old they are going to get hurt or be sicker etc.

Bonnie Koenig, Jobcase Community Member

In summary, high health risks to COVID-19, heavy healthcare costs, beefy salaries, ability to fit into the workplace culture, and lack of in demand technical skills continue to be some of the major pain points associated to ageism and bias hiring practices.

Don’t let all this gloomy information discourage you from pursuing your immediate job goals. Remember, “Knowledge is Power!”. Recognizing these pain points and taking the necessary action steps to overcome them will ultimately help you succeed.

Here are 5 action items you may want to consider to improve your chances of getting rehired:

1. Revitalize yourself and continue to grow professionally

Unexpected job loss can wage a heavy burden on your self-esteem, spirit and the way you perceive the world. We’re living in an unprecedented time in our nation history. Managing unemployment during a global health pandemic, economic uncertainty, and national social injustice crisis is a lot to take on by yourself. There’s no shame in reaching out to ask for help!

Treat yourself with kindness and encouragement. Try telling yourself things such as, Even though it's tough, I can handle this situation.

Mayo Clinic

Take time for self-reflection and evaluate your physical and mental well-being, then connect with people and/or organizations that can support you where you need help. Set up healthy daily routines that are going to keep you groomed, energized and reward you with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. A daily walk, an online class or a local community volunteer opportunity can have a tremendous impact on your physical, emotional and mental well-being.

2. Reconnect with positive people, places and things

Effective networking for highly skilled and experienced older workers is essential! Break out your old rolodex and make a list of your previous managers, work colleagues and business contacts.

Social networking sites like facebook, twitter and linkedin have made it easier to track down and find old contacts.

“Master the art of connection, and you will go places you never thought possible.” - Kelly Swanson, Motivational Speaker

Reaching back out just to say hi is okay but make sure you take time to explain your job goals. These people already know you and are more likely to act as personal referrals for a potential employer. Don’t fret about appearing needy; now is the time to tell everybody you know that you’re looking for work, because you never know who can help.

3. Optimize your resume

Online job searching continues to be the most preferred employment prospecting tool among today’s workforce but achieving success using this strategy is highly dependent on how well you present yourself to potential employers. Think of your resume as an advertisement or marketing tool to show of your know how, value and potential.

Whether you're looking for a “bridge job” or career employment opportunity make sure you focus your resume on the last 10 years of your work experience/history. When describing your daily job tasks and responsibilities identify you exercised your unique skills and strengths to achieve your goals.

Pay close attention to the keywords employers use on the job descriptions and transfer those keywords into you resume as often as possible. Avoid using a “one size fits all” resume. Customize your resume to fit the specific needs of each job you’re pursuing in order to boost your online application rating.

The recruiter decides which keywords to search for and include whatever skills, qualifications, or qualities most important to the job that’s posted.

Laila Nashat, Jobcase Community Specialist

Our own Community Specialists Laila Nashat and Elyssa Duncan recently published some excellent quick read articles specifically designed to help you craft optimized resumes for better online job search results.

Check out their articles here... 

4. Develop salary negotiation tactics

It might be tough to get back to your old salary, but with a solid work history and skills, you can negotiate other options, such as flextime, extra vacation or the ability to work from home. Make sure you have a game plan ready to execute when and if concerns about adequate compensation becomes an obstacle keeping you from a potential job offer.

5. Consider work from home “bridge jobs”

The work from home industry is booming right now. Hundreds of employers are offering full, part-time and seasonal remote employment opportunities within entry level occupations.

Whether is Customer Service, Data Entry, or Contact Tracing these job options offer excellent supplemental income solutions with work/life balance and flexibility. Follow the #workfromhome topic page on Jobcase and stay informed on the latest and greatest local work from home hiring events and immediate employment opportunities.

Have you recently experienced ageism or age discrimination during your current job seach?

Use the ‘comment’ link below to share your story and help raise awareness and empower other job seekers.



Marquet Bolden
Bullet point
Security guard

I fell digital newly updates will be vital for the months ahead

Ashley Wilson
Bullet point
Content Manager at Jobcase

This article has incredible advice @Lenin Pina !