OTTAWA — Older unemployed workers spend as much time looking for a job as younger ones, according to a new Statistics Canada study.
The agency says unemployed people aged 55 to 64 spent an average of 13 hours a week looking for work — the same as those between the ages of 20 and 34.
But the study found key differences in the way each age group looked for jobs.
Older people were more likely to look at job ads and less likely to use the Internet than younger job hunters.
Younger people were more likely to contact employers directly as their main method of finding a job.
Both age groups turned to employment agencies in similar numbers.
The study also found both older and younger unemployed workers were equally willing to look for a job outside their community.
Older workers were more willing to work for 10 per cent less money than younger workers.
Study author Andre Bernard said there are several reasons older workers are more willing to work for less money.
“We know that older workers tend to have higher wages, just because of experience. It could just reflect that,” he said Wednesday.
“They have the possibility to transition to retirement. Maybe they have more assets accumulated, lower expenses for older individuals because they are less likely to have dependents at home.
“But it could also reflect a more difficult job market for older unemployed (workers).”
But Statistics Canada says most older unemployed workers were down on their chances of finding a good job in the next three months. Fifty-eight per cent felt their chances of landing an acceptable job were “not very good” — nearly twice the proportion of the younger unemployed workers.
The older group was more likely to blame their health and age as obstacles to their job search.
The length of the unemployment spell didn’t change people’s job search habits. Old and young alike spent the same amount of time looking for a job after 24 weeks of unemployment as they did during their first eight weeks of joblessness.
Older workers were more likely to be out of work longer than younger ones, Bernard said.
“The 55-64 (group) were twice as likely to be long-term unemployed, so being unemployed for more than 24 weeks,” he said.
“They stay unemployed longer.”
Bernard said older workers tend to have less education than younger ones, and are more likely to have skills suited only to a specific industry, which can limit their job options.
The study covered the four-year period between 2006 and 2010.