TORONTO - Employers may be hiring senior executives who lost their jobs during the recession, according to recruiters puzzling over a trend in the latest jobs figures that found nearly half of new jobs going to men over the age of 55.
A report issued Friday by Statistics Canada indicated that 26,000 of the 60,000 full-time employees who entered the workforce last month were men over 55.
Susan Eng, a vice-president at the Canadian Association for Retired Persons, said the trend toward hiring older men will likely continue because many were given early retirement packages during the recession and now have the time, energy and expertise to hit the ground running at a new employer.
"This is a demonstration that the marketplace has spoken and does in fact see value here because you can imagine the tide that they're fighting . . .," she said.
Eng said her 55-year-old brother-in-law, an executive who was downsized from his IT management job was recently sought after by a big corporation who flew him to a preliminary meeting on their private jet.
"I'm certain that that is the trend that's making this happen...I'm certain there will be more and more opportunities like this," she said.
Eng pointed out that the latest figures have reversed a trend last year in which older women took on part-time and entrepreneurial jobs after their husband's lost their jobs.
The Conference Board of Canada reported last month that women have generally been spared from job losses compared to men. it found that over the past 12 months, 320,000 men lost their jobs, compared to 80,000 women - a four-to-one ratio.
Sarah Welstead, a managing partner at recruitment firm Retired Workers, said the trend to hire mature workers was growing before the recession hit and the firm has been busy since January with employers more open to hiring older people.
"In 2009, people got sick of being static and when they hit January they said 'we need to start the new year and get talent back in here and start moving forward again."'
Rick Chad of Chad Management Group, a recruiter for hard-hit advertising and marketing firms, said the job market is returning in the industry.
He said the industry is dominated by a younger demographic, but as jobs pick up, firms are starting to ask for senior executives back as well, who tend to be older men.
"(Some) prefer to hire someone with more tenure and put them at a lower ranking than they used to be," he said.
He added that he's had positive feedback from clients who hire older workers and found "they have nothing to prove, it's all business and they move things ahead."