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Unemployed over 50 found a new job faster than average

07. Feb 2022

This is shown by the current market survey of the Swiss Association for Outplacement (ACF Switzerland) for the approximately 4,200 jobseekers who received professional advice and support from ACF members in 2021. On average, they found a new job after about seven months (2020: 8.18 months), which is even shorter than in 2019 before the corona pandemic.

Jobseekers over the age of 50 found professional reintegration into the labour market even faster, namely within less than seven months (2020: 8 months). The ACF coaches attribute this to the fact that job seekers over 50 are more active in their search for the next career step and spend more time on further training measures to maintain or improve their employability. Job advertisements and the internet are still by far the most important success factors in career reorientation, along with personal networking, which took place increasingly online last year due to the pandemic. More than half of the applicants changed to the service sector, about 30% to the industrial sector. What is striking is the very strong increase in the share of the non-profit sector with about 7%. After a peak in the previous year (2020: just under 10%), only around 5% dared to become self-employed in 2021, which is significantly less, probably not least because the labour market had recovered well in 2021 after the first year of the pandemic and offered many new opportunities.

Since 2004, the Swiss industry association for outplacement ACF (Swiss Association of Companies for Personal and Organisational Change) has been collecting key data on the reintegration into the labour market of jobseekers assisted by ACF members in Switzerland. In 2021, ACF association members supported around 4200 jobseekers with professional counselling and personalised services in the field of outplacement, newplacement, assements and coaching. Of these, around 46% are women, which is a new high. Around 70% of the jobseekers assisted were advised in an individual outplacement programme.

85% of jobseekers find new employment within a maximum og eight months

The figures roughly correspond to the average of the years before the first pandemic year 2020, when a peak of about 5,000 jobseekers was reached. The association attributes the decline from the previous year to the fact that fewer restructuring projects were carried out last year. The financial support of companies by the federal government and the social responsibility of many entrepreneurs are also likely reasons for a rather defensive dismissal policy. In addition, one member left the association, which is why its data is no longer included in the current market statistics.nd 

Once again, more than four-fifths (84.37%) of the jobseekers supported by ACF association members found a new challenge within two to eight months (2020: 84.94%). Or to put it another way: the probability of finding a job again within eight months or less remains unchanged at a high 85%. The average time to re-enter the labour market in 2021 decreased by about one month and was 7.04 months (2020: 8.18), which is shorter than in the years before the pandemic. Jobseekers over 50 found a new job even faster in 2021, within 6.73 months on average (2020: 8.00).

Jobseekers 50+ are more active in their search for the next career step

The ACF coaches often found that 50+ candidates invest more time in training measures to maintain or improve their employability. They may also feel more motivated - or under pressure - to develop professionally, to take on new tasks or functions, or to reorient themselves professionally altogether, and are therefore more active in their search for the next career step. According to the ACF, the question of which new, up-to-date skills are necessary for this and to what extent one already has them, needs to acquire them or refresh them, is then also one of the frequent reasons why they call in professional support for reintegration into the work process.

Networking events practically only possible online due to the pandemic

Job advertisements and the internet have been growing in importance for years and were the preferred ways of finding a new job for the first time last year with 39.14% (2020: 31.32%). Together with personal networking at 37.72% (2020: 45.43%), these continue to be by far the two most important success factors in career reorientation. Search and recruitment agencies were responsible for 9.07% (202: 8.85%) of all cases, and the share of in-house implementation also increased slightly again to 5.05% (2020: 4.34%). Social media are helpful with 5.74 % (2020: 5.63 %), but stagnate in their importance at a low level. On the other hand, spontaneous applications are again less relevant with a share of 3.28 % (2020: 4.33 %).

Unchanged high demand for outplacement and newplacement, assements and coaching.

The observed loss of importance of personal networking, i.e. the active use of the personal network of relationships with friends, acquaintances and former professional colleagues, is probably due to the Corona pandemic. Social life came to a standstill, networking events could not be held or could only be held online. However, networking, a focus on maintaining and improving one's employability and the mixed use of many channels at the same time are still important key elements in career reorientation according to ACF members.

This is where adequate and professional job search support seems to be able to make a difference. According to the ACF career coaches, many candidates are additionally unsettled by the unchanged high dynamics in the labour market. Various analyses, self-tests and role-plays can contribute a lot to self-knowledge here and also help to regain self-confidence, which is crucial for successful job interviews. The demand for training and admission to programmes for outplacement and newplacement, assements and also leadership coaching therefore remained very high last year, according to the industry association. For many companies and organisations, the focus is on continuous training and retraining to strengthen leadership and management skills, as well as key topics such as new work, diversity and integration within the organisation.

Most new hires in the service and industry sectors - NPOs with strong growth

In 2021, the majority of job seekers came from the industrial sector for the first time, at 43.85% (2020: 42.98%), followed by the service sector, whose share declined from 46.44% in 2020 to 42.59% last year. There was again a slight increase in the number of job seekers from administrative positions to 6.52% (2020: 6.21%). Also striking is the very strong increase in the non-profit sector to 7.04 % (2020: 5.37 %), which is a new high. In the past, state administrations and non-profit organisations used outplacement services rather less.

On the other hand, more than half of the candidates assisted by ACF consultancies found re-employment in the service sector (54.80%), significantly more than in the previous year (2020: 49.04%). Once again, more candidates were hired in the service sector than were dismissed. 30.87 % were re-employed in the industrial sector (2020: 31.82 %). It is also interesting to note that the share of employment in non-profit organisations grew very strongly to 4.54 % compared to the previous year (2020: 1.4 %), while it declined to 4.16 % in administrations (2020: 5.82 %).

After a peak in the previous year (2020: just under 10%), only around 5% dared to become self-employed in 2021, which is again significantly less. This can be explained by the fact that the labour market in 2021 offered many opportunities as a logical recovery after the first pandemic year.

ACF Switzerland was founded in 2004 as the Association of Personal & Organizational Change Firms Switzerland. The industry association is the union of the leading providers of career management and organisational development in Switzerland, which offer services in the areas of outplacement, assessment and career development as well as HR consulting and development. ACF Switzerland is committed, among other things, to promoting the interests of the profession and to the maintenance and quality assurance of professional outplacement services. In doing so, the association pursues the goal of communicating and continuously developing the competence and high quality of the services provided by the members organised in ACF Switzerland in the field of outplacement counselling.

As the Swiss industry association for outplacement, ACF Switzerland deals with labour policy, economic and legal issues relevant to the market and the framework conditions for outplacement as a personnel policy instrument. To this end, the industry association has been collecting the relevant market values and key data on the reintegration of jobseekers supported by ACF Switzerland in Switzerland every year since 2004. The current market statistics of ACF Switzerland cover the data from 2017 to 2021. Data and figures on the statistics of ACF Switzerland are available on the website of ACF Switzerland in the "Downloads" section:


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