Not a war for talent, a war against ageism?

By Margaret FernsLex Kleren

Could a change of attitude solve Luxembourg’s recruitment woes? Instead of looking abroad, why not make use of the candidates already here? Talented people of 45 and older who have a wealth of experience to bring to a company. Rather than engaging in the war for talent, should employers in Luxembourg be combatting the real foe – ageism?

Employers claim that there is no discrimination against older workers, saying that in view of the shortage of candidates, skilled and unskilled, companies do not have such a luxury. Recruiters know there is a problem and over 45 to 50 job seekers report that they cannot find work.

Everyone agrees that older workers have much to offer in terms of work and life experience, and that with training they could be re-skilled to meet the needs of the new roles that are on the market. Yet they do not appear to be being employed by Luxembourg companies. Is it simply that older employees look for bigger salaries? Does it come right down to short term budget management?

In a recent interview for this publication, Fabrice Poncé of Action Interim had the following to say regarding recruitment, "We need to look at the pool of candidates that we have, not the candidates we wish to have. We need to retrain people and completely change our attitude to employing older workers … but this is not yet accepted by employers."

The numbers speak for themselves

Recent figures from Adem (Luxembourg’s employment administration) support Poncé’s comments. A first glance reveals a positive and buoyant employment market. As of the end of March 2022, there were 11,991 open job positions listed on Adem’s books and there has been a 46.3% increase in new job openings over the last 12 months. The unemployment rate has also fallen to 4.7%, a low not seen since 2008. 

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