More than 40% of unemployed in Latvia are 50 years old or older

40.3 percent of Latvia’s unemployed, or 24,000 people, are 50 years old and older, the State Employment Agency’s Director Evita Simsone said today while opening a new campaign to promote longer employment.

Of these, 14 percent have higher education, 47 percent have vocational education, and 39 percent – secondary education or primary education.On the other hand, those aged 50 and over make up 33.7 percent of all employees in Latvia. Most of them work in water supply, health and social care, education, real estate operations, and power supply.

In addition, people aged 50 and over make up 39.2 percent of those who have been unemployed for a lengthy period of time, added Simsone. These persons last worked as janitors, shop assistants, cooks, caregivers, drivers, and suchlike.

Simsone said people aged 50 and over had a great potential. “Senior employees have major work experience, they are responsible and motivated to work, but their skills no longer meet the requirements of the modern-day labor market.”Therefore, new ideas and solutions have to be tried to help these people achieve their potential faster, taking into account their specific needs.

The Welfare Ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary Karina Ploka (Unity) said that the labor market was changing and new skills were in demand. Workers 50 years old and older are a very vulnerable group though as employees often prefer youth to experience, she admitted.

To that end, employers who employ persons older than 50 now receive more support from the state, added Ploka.The aim of the Employment Agency’s new campaign is to inform employers and employees older than 50 about the support measures available to them, as well as to dispel stereotypes and emphasize the advantages of older job seekers.

Also participating in today’s conference were Latvian Employers Confederation’s Director General Liga Mengelsone and Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia’s head Egils Baldzens.

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