Barriers to Achieving Work Opportunities

Many people have perceived barriers and gaps in achieving work opportunities and about the current employment market.  According to a 2019 LinkedIn Survey held globally, Australians view age as the biggest barrier to obtaining work.  This was more prominent for the Baby Boomers (46%) and Gen-X (31%) populations within Australia. 

Is age just a number?  Does it prevent you from obtaining meaningful work?

It may seem pronounced with the older generations, yet age is a factor across the board.  At the top end, it’s trying to keep up with changing skills and at the younger end, it is about job experience and how to get it. Technical skills have on average a life expectancy of three years, so everyone, no matter their age, must be continually learning. Three in four Australians believe that having transferrable skills was key to getting ahead in their career. I agree 100% with this statement. Plus start to think about emerging skills, which work alongside problem-solving, communicating, critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration. 

Job security and work-life balance emerged almost equal for the most important opportunity for all generations. With five generations now in the workplace, it’s time for companies to embrace the benefits of multi-generational teams.  Matt Tindale, LinkedIn Australia/New Zealand Managing Director stated that “to be successful employers should embrace multi-generational diversity within the workforce”.   Recent research also indicates that people aged 45 to 54 had a greater ability to adapt to change than any other age group. 

It is unfortunate though that one in three organisations indicated there was an age over which they were reluctant to recruit – 68% of those nominated the age of 50 as “too old”. According to a 2018 survey of more than 900 professionals from the Australian Human Resource Institute. The fact is recruiters don’t know your age unless you tell them in person or on paper! Please keep this information to yourself.

The closing doors

Below are some of the other key barriers to achieving work opportunities as listed in the 2019 LinkedIn Opportunity Index Survey (Australian responses combined):

  1. Financial Status, 24%
  2. Difficult Job Market, 21%
  3. Lack of Time, 21%
  4. Lack of Confidence, 13%
  5. Not enough Experience, 13%
  6. Health/Physical Disabilities, 13%
  7. Minimal Networking & Connections, 12%
  8. No required Professional Skills, 11%
  9. Lack of Motivation, 11%

Due to the tightening labour market and COVID-19 epidemic, everyone will face perceived and real barriers in achieving work opportunities and in job searching.  This is due to ongoing workforce changes, downsizing, outsourcing, technology changes, and automation.  It is a hard reality that some businesses will never reopen due to the global economic fallout.  

Currently, in Australia, people who are unemployed and over 45 will be out of work for an average of 76 weeks.  That is 20 weeks longer than someone aged under 45.  I have no doubt this will rise again and people under the age of 45 will also be impacted given the COVID19 pandemic.  Furthermore being unemployed is the third-highest personal stress after health and family death.  The best strategy is to be aware of your skills and knowledge and be persistent in job searching and networking.   Casual work is the best option for now, and consider volunteering, if it’s safe to do so.  While it is not paid work, it gives people a routine, you will learn new skills and meet new people! 

If you need assistance, career coaching can lighten the stress, give you the confidence and tools to land your next job.