Age does count when it comes to landing a job

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Age does count when it comes to landing a job

In recent years, companies have advertised that an applicant’s age is not a factor in hiring, and neither is the school the candidate attended or the region where they were born.

A recent survey, however, shows that may not be a true reflection of how employees are actually picked - age is still one of the main factors.

According to a survey by online job portal Job Korea on Tuesday, roughly 73 percent of 238 HR managers at Korea’s leading companies said age is a significant factor during the hiring process. Only 26.1 percent said age does not play a role in determining if a candidate is eligible for a job.

The most popular age was 28 for men and 25 for women in entry-level positions open to those who graduated from four-year university courses.

Recruiters showed most interest in men aged about 27 and 28, as Korean men are required to join the military and serve between 21 and 24 months. The most favorable age for women was between 24 and 26.

Reflecting the trend, another study done by the job portal last month showed the average age of newbies hired in the first half of the year was 27.5 years.

Earlier this year, the government urged state-run companies and major conglomerates to implement the state-developed National Competency Standards as part of its efforts to transform the country into a competency-based society instead of an education and spec-based society.

Major companies, starting with the 10 largest conglomerates, began to place more value on practical task-oriented credentials when evaluating candidates, such as job experience rather than English scores, college GPAs and community service hours.

They also implemented a background-free resume and eliminated age limits from job postings.

However, 57.4 percent of HR managers at the nation’s 397 companies said in last month’s survey that they unofficially took job candidates’ age into consideration, even though they publicly announce that age is not one of the evaluation factors.


BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]

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