Survey: Age Does Make A Difference For Executive Hires

Hiring young executives seems to be the goal at many companies, according to the results of a recent poll conducted by Exec-U-Net, an Internet-based center that provides executive job listings. In fact, of the 1,172 executives and 314 search firms surveyed, only a small percentage (3% of executives and 8% of search firms) report that age is never a determining factor in hiring. The study also found that one-third of the executives polled believe that age can be a contributing factor when the job candidate is between the ages of 46-50, compared with only 1% of executives who believe that age is a significant factor when the candidate is between the ages of 30 and 35. The results from the executive search firms are a little lower, with 24% of the firms saying that age is significant in hiring decisions when the person is between the ages of 46 and 50. Again, about 1% of these firms believe that age is a contributing factor when the candidate is between the ages of 30 and 35. However, even though the percentages of the executives and search firms who believe that age is a factor directly increases as the candidates age increases, the results show that many believe age doesn't become a determining factor until the candidate is over the age of 50. The results may be discouraging to older job seekers, but performance and experience still speak well for any executive. "The twenty- and thirty-something CEOs have received a considerable amount of attention this past year, which has made older executives more conscious of their age," explains Dave Opton, executive director of Exec-U-Net. "However, many executives over the age of 50 are successfully overcoming age-related bias by effectively demonstrating that their experience can improve a company's leadership and direction."

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