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Older job seekers feel ‘not very good’ about prospects

Job seekers look for positions at computer stations at employment agency Manpower Canada in Toronto.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Older job seekers are more pessimistic than unemployed young people, and more likely to accept a job that pays less.

Among jobless Canadians aged 55 to 64, 81 per cent said they would take a job that offered 10 per cent less pay than their previous job, while only 69 per cent of those aged 20 to 34 said they would do the same, according to a Statistics Canada study released Wednesday.

People in the older group were also twice as likely compared with younger job seekers to say their chances of finding a job were "not very good," with many citing their age and health as the main barriers they faced.

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Despite these differences, people in both age groups spent about 13 hours each week on the job hunt, and older and younger job seekers were about equal in their likelihood to look outside their community for work.

For young people, the main strategy was to directly contact employers about any job openings, while the older unemployed were less likely to do this. Young people are also more likely to use the Internet in their job search, the study said, and the older group was more likely to look at job ads.

Joblessness generally decreases with age, and the unemployment rate for those 55 and over stood at an average of 6.3 per cent in 2011 compared with 14.2 per cent for those aged 15 to 24.

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