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It seems like unemployment is hitting workers on both ends of the age spectrum especially hard. In a recent blog post, we referred to a article that illustrated college graduate’s struggles finding employment. Now an article on shows that the job shortage may be even harder on older workers.

While those newer to the workforce may be more likely to be laid off, they seem to have less trouble returning to the workforce than those 55 and over. In fact, the article cites a Pew Economic Policy Group report that shows that 29 percent of unemployed people who are 55 and over have been out of work for at least a year, while only 18 percent of those 20-24 had been jobless that long. In April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the average length of unemployment for the older group was 42.1 weeks, which is six times the national average.

So why are Baby Boomers being left out on the unemployment lines? Well, while they tend to bring more experience to the table, they may be less knowledgeable in the latest trends or technology skills. Some employers feel they are better off hiring a younger worker who is more tech-savy and can be paid less. Also, some employers fear that older workers will soon flee for better jobs or retire after the company has invested time and money into them as a direct-hire.

The good news? While companies may be hesitant to extend long-term, direct offers to older workers, they may consider hiring them on a contract basis so they can take advantage of their years of experience to assist with certain projects or fill the gap when a high-level executive has suddenly decided to leave. And older candidates who shied away from contracting in the past may find that they like the challenges and flexibility that come with being a “free agent.” By offering contracting to both clients and your older candidates, you be able to create a happy ending for both parties (and yourself!), and everyone could use more of those these days!

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