A report by Napier's Employment Research Institute (ERI) says that by having a large circle of family, friends, and acquaintances in employment a person is more likely to find or be in work than someone with very few contacts. However, unemployed people over 50 years old had smaller social circles than those in work and that many of their acquaintances were also unemployed which reduced their own chances of finding work.
According to the report--The Social Networks of Older Workers, people over 50 generally had fewer qualifications and skills than the under 50s and were more likely to work in part-time, non-skilled jobs. The over 50s also considered age to be a major barrier to employment. Kaberi Gayen, Research Associate, ERI, Napier University, said: "This research confirms the commonly-held view that older people find it harder to obtain work or change jobs." The research was carried out under the EQUAL initiative, an EU programme designed to combat discrimination and exclusion.
While recommending more research to validate its results over a broader area, the report suggests that more support should be given to unemployed people over 50, through greater development of social networks and skills by employment agencies; more work placements to enable people to widen their skills and social networks; and by increasing the number of volunteering opportunities.
Source: Press Release Napier University Employment Research Institute (January 17, 2006)