Get a Life

By Judith Welles

Blog archive

Get a Life!: Older new hires

New hires for entry-level professional and administrative jobs are older than we think. According to a survey reported by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in the September issue of Merit newsletter, new hires since 1990 have been closer to 30 years old with years of work experience instead of right out of college. Only 25 percent of new hires came right out of college, and many of them had at least a year of full-time work experience. Indeed, one out of every five new hires had 20 years of work experience, adding to an already older and experienced workforce. This trend can be partly explained by considering that college students today often are older, having either taken a break in the working world before going to college or completing a degree later in life. Also, some baby boomers looking for a second career are turning to government and getting hired. Another factor in the trend may be a government agencies' tendency to hire people with experience, adding needed skills to the workforce. But MSPB cautions that agency recruitment and hiring practices may pose barriers to younger applicants. For example, younger workers and college students rely more on personal recruitment such as college recruiters and school placement offices. But government often recruits through USAJobs and agency Web sites searched more by people over 30. Also, federal job requirements favor people with more education and experience rather than considering their potential for future performance. Qualification standards for training, education and years of experience often weight assessments away from applicants with high potential but less experience. MSPB recommends that agencies assure that assessment practices select the best candidate based on relative ability, regardless of age and years of experience. What is your view of the trend toward older new hires?

Posted by Judith Welles on Oct 03, 2007 at 12:13 PM


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