sre292 - I'm very confused. Mature students (that I have known) regularly discuss how difficult it can be and how age should not be an issue in hiring (which I completely agree with) but you seem to think it's appropriate to make derogatory comments about "non-matured 20 something" students and graduates. It's not appropriate and it's highly offensive. Traditional age students and mature students both have something to bring to the table and it should be completely irrelevant. Jobs should be offered based on merit.
Incidentally, years in industry does not prove anything unless you can demonstrate the skills acquired which are transferable to the new job.
Age shouldn't matter but sadly it does. The reality is that it is very difficult for over 35s to find a job in many fields, not just academia, there is no doubt about it.
If you have the right motivation and support it isn't impossible but younger, cheaper labour will always have the edge, especially when the younger graduates are of high quality (and they almost always are in my experience).
Granted it can help to have lived a bit before going into post-grad studies as it can give a different perspective on what is important/relevant...but it certainly is a huge hindrance when entering the job market.
I for one know that it'll be a struggle (I'll be starting at 34 in September and will be 37 when I finish) but I come fully prepared!
Good luck to all
If some serious and hard to ignore challenges are put forth to the British hiring practices, I would guess things would change. Complaints to the accrediting bodies of universities? Where a breach of law, a law suit for discrimination? A requirement in the interview that the university present its non discrimination policies to the interviewee and provide contact details for relevant people within the university if the interviewee feels that inappropriate remarks, questions or decisions were made? Institutions will discriminate only as long as they have carte blance to do so. It takes challenging it to make it go away.
I certainly agree with you Olivia but it isn't as easy as maybe you make it sound like (in substance the Brits are a gregarious bunch happy to accept their fate without a fight).
I have recently been witness to one particularly discriminatory decision based on age and the person on the receiving end of it took to challenging it by lodging an official complaint. Unfortunately in her case although obvious it was very hard to prove concretely (the law protects employers really well in that area) and ended up being a long-drawn, very stressful and humiliating experience for her.
So sure age discrimination needs to be challenged when the case is clear but employers know how to play the law to their advantage and sometimes it's not that clear-cut.
I might be proven wrong and I hope eventually I will be but I think in the humanities that age and life experience is a real advantage when it comes to teaching jobs because there is more for one to draw on. Selection committees for jobs are fully aware of that and all things being equal many do hire nature age doctorate holders.
Research appointments, however, seem less welcoming of the more mature. Maybe it has to do with the lack of continuous blocks of time or bucket loads of energy that one needs when in hot pursuit of research that people with families, kids and mortgages cannot find easily. I am generalising of course.
Of all the words I might use to describe the British national character, the word "gregarious" has never come to mind!!!! Rather the opposite, I would say.
That aside, I was thinking that probably a poor attitude about age is the tip of the iceberg in possible hiring practices that are dubious. What about sexism--preference of males to females? And what about racism--preferring to hire white people instead of people of colour?
Those might be as devasting to the hiring chances of very bright and qualified individuals. Again, if these were to go unchallenged, what would be the result? I recognise that challenging these is an awful stress on people...but what is the saying? That all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.
so you don't see the Brits as being 'gregarious'?! I personally find those I know very sociable indeed!!
Seriously though, I take your point entirely and I have no problems (even a history would wearily say those who know me) challenging discriminations of all kinds!
I just hope this whole discussion is superfluous and cynical and that actually, people ARE being employed through merit and hard-work only regardless of age, sex or race.
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