Help – Why do companies not employ people over 45 years?

Dear Aunty,

I am 49 years old and am looking for employment. I have done Accounts and Administration and am currently pursuing a degree in Accountancy.

I have been looking for a job for almost two years, but I can’t find one.

My question is why do companies not employ when someone is above 45 years?

Aunty says,

I suspect the younger members of our community (perhaps those who have just finished school or university) will be reading your letter with great interest as they are feel that they are often the victims of age discrimination in Zambia.

There is no reason why age should be a barrier to obtaining employment in Zambia. Employers are looking for candidates with a mix of skills, experience and qualifications. From your letter I can see that you have experience in Accounts and Administration and are currently studying towards a degree in Accountancy – it appears that you have the skills and experience and will soon have the qualifications.

Without further information on your individual circumstances it is difficult for me to provide a targeted response, however, what I would strongly recommend you do is to undertake a review your job seeking strategy over the last 2 years. Sit down with a pen and paper and consider the following questions:

  • What are the skills, experience and qualifications required for the jobs you have been applying for? Do you possess these requirements? Should you consider applying for a wider range of jobs given the transferable skills and experience that you possess?
  • How many jobs have you been applying for on a weekly or monthly basis? Are you getting the right balance between quality and quantity when applying for jobs (I would suggest between 5 and 10 quality applications each week)?
  • Which (if any) applications have been successful in securing you an interview? Could you improve your application technique so that you get a higher application to interview success rate?
  • How have you performed during any interviews that you many have attended? Could improvements be made in your interview technique?
  • Is your job search to narrow? Are there any other approaches to job hunting that you need to consider (see the Go Zambia Jobs article on How to Create a Job)?

If you consider the questions above you will gain a better understanding of which job and employers you should target and how you should allocate your job seeking resources.


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