Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Survey finds middle-aged workers worry about losing jobs

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Eighty-two percent of middle-aged workers are worried about their jobs as the economic slowdown leads to sluggish business, a survey released yesterday by an online employment broker showed.

The 1111 Job Bank survey found that many workers have started to feel the impact, with 46.21 percent of respondents saying their employers have announced job reductions, 30.68 percent have seen a change in their job content or labor conditions and 26.45 percent have seen their benefits changed or canceled.

Only 12.15 percent of respondents expressed confidence that it was “absolutely impossible” for them to become a victim of involuntary unemployment, but 17.41 percent said it was “very possible,” and 9.47 percent said such a scenario was “imminent.”

If they lose their jobs, middle-aged workers worry most about their financial status and the difficulty of finding a new job, especially in middle and high-level positions.

Just over 36 percent of respondents said they wanted to retain their current jobs until retirement because of the difficulty in changing jobs at their age. The other two major reasons cited for staying put were satisfaction with pay and benefits and fear of change.

The workers who most wanted to keep their current jobs until they retired were in government, education, medical, agricultural, industrial and commercial service.

Meanwhile, 42.11 percent of the businesses surveyed said they were more inclined to hire workers between the age of 35 and 45, after last year’s amendment to the Employment Services Act (就業服務法) that banned age discrimination was adopted. However, on average, businesses still set an age limit of 38 for candidates applying for non-supervisory positions, with 45.9 percent of businesses setting the ceiling at 35 years.

On average, workers aged between 35 and 45 accounted for 31.38 percent of the staff of the surveyed businesses, with 55.85 percent of businesses having no more than 30 percent in that age group.

While 48.17 percent of businesses are accepting middle-aged workers, 7.31 percent are shutting out this age group completely, the survey found. The reasons cited included that middle-aged workers were less flexibile and the high personnel costs involved.

Many businesses, however, said they recognized that people in this age group had advantages such as professional experience, a low likelihood of quitting and an ability to deal with stress.

The survey found businesses felt that jobs in sales, finance, accounting and production were most suitable for middle-aged workers.

The survey was conducted between Sept. 19 and Oct. 2 among 1,235 workers between the ages of 30 and 45 and 342 business owners and human resource managers.

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