A Tauranga couple who have unsuccessfully applied for about 150 jobs between them over the past year say they are determined to find work before their savings run out.
However, they fear their ages could be the main reason they are being overlooked and say prospective employers lose interest when they find out how old they are.
Liz and Ross Grant moved from Auckland to Tauranga a year ago after Mr Grant, 62, was made redundant.
"I've been looking for jobs for 12 months and haven't even got interviews. I've had one interview in 12 months," Mrs Grant, 60, said.
Mrs Grant estimated she had applied for about 100 jobs as she had been applying for about two a week and currently had about four applications on the go.
She had just finished a short stint of temping in Hamilton, but found it was too far to drive every day. "It's a hell of a long way," she said. "I don't mind an hour commute."
Mrs Grant said she had experience in sales and customer service but would be happy with any job and had applied at supermarkets and hardware stores. "I've got good computer skills. I'd be happy working in a factory, I don't mind. I'm not fussy at all," she said. "I'm happy to work through the weekends, public holidays, even shift work."
She had been told that she was too over-qualified for some jobs. She suspected some of it came down to her age. She avoided including her age or date of birth where possible, but said some companies required it as part of the application process. "They are not allowed to discriminate, but I do feel like it is part of it."
Mr Grant, who is a qualified industrial chemist, had been applying for one or two jobs a week, at least 50 jobs in total, and had been called in for two or three interviews.
He also had experience in managing factories, warehousing and sales but could not find a job in any of those areas.
Mr Grant said he believed age was the main issue.
"I suspect it's a fear that you might not stay for the long term, ultimately because of age and you're going to retire, or you're over-qualified.
"Both Liz and I have a history of long-term employment. I stick with it and make the most of it and try to work my way up in the company."
The couple have been living off savings for the past year, but could not do so for much longer so had just arranged an appointment with Work and Income to discuss financial support and their Job Seeker programme.
"I'm not sure what to do next. I'll just keep on applying for anything," Mrs Grant said.
"I'm kind of lost. Next thing I'm going to be printing some flyers out going around Greerton putting flyers in every shop."
Grey Power Tauranga president Christina Humphreys said she often heard of people in the same situation.
"It's still a big problem," she said.
"Some leaders are trying to say, 'there is a skill shortage out there and for goodness sake look at the older people because they still have skills'," she said. "I know if I was employing people I'd rather have the older ones. They are more reliable. If they say they are going to do the job they do it."
It not only affected people in their 60s, but even those in their late 50s found it tough, she said.
"It's awful. Possibly if they get a young person out of university they don't have to pay them as much, I suppose."
Mrs Humphreys said it was a worry for many older people as it made saving and preparing for retirement very difficult.
1st Call Recruitment managing director Phill van Syp said his recruitment company put forward the best applicants for jobs regardless of age, but he did not doubt some companies were put off by older applicants.
"I understand that older people do have issues with trying to get work. At the same time, I've found them extremely reliable. One of my best consultants is over 65. He's reliable and hard-working. I wouldn't think age would be a barrier unless the company chooses it to be."
He said some companies may be wary of investing in older workers for fear they may not stay in the job as long as a younger person.
Mr Van Syp suggested older applicants should avoid mentioning their age or their school years and shorten their CV to their past three jobs in order to reflect their skills.
The current climate meant the Bay was becoming a candidate-short market in most industries but for administration roles his company was still getting about 100 applications for every job listed, he said.
- Mr and Mrs Grant are keen to hear from anyone who has a job vacancy.
Tips for older applicants:
Don't mention your age or date of birth
Shorten your CV to only include your past three jobs
Don't mention your school years
Focus on making sure your CV reflects your skill set