Age Limits in Job Ads (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO)

For the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) the SJMM leads a project on age limitations in job ads spanning the period 2006-2015. It is well known that older job seekers, independent of their qualifications and skills, encounter greater difficulties compared to their younger counterparts when trying to land a new job (Baumann & Oesch, 2013). In the face of demographic change, elderly people’s labor market integration is highly desirable. This can be accomplished, however, only on condition that firms and companies are willing to hire people who are more advanced in years. Against this background, we examine, based on SJMM data and for the past ten years, the extent to which firms attempt to exclude older job seekers by placing age limits in their job ads. We assume that such limits do indeed restrict older job seekers’ application chances as job ads (in contrast to surveys) inform about companies factual personnel recruitment practices. Besides documenting trends in age restrictions over the past ten years we also break them down by industry, sector (public or private), region, firm size, occupation, executive position, education, and gender. Our analyses will contribute to a better understanding of how the demand side of the labor market affects labor market chances of elderly job seekers.

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