Age and reemployment success after job loss: An integrative model and meta-analysis

Despite widespread popular concern about what it means to be over 40 and unemployed, little attention has been paid in the literature to clarifying the role of age within the job seeking experience. Extending theory, we propose mechanisms by which chronological age affects job search and reemployment outcomes after job loss. Through a meta-analysis and examination of 2 supplemental datasets, we examine 5 questions: (a) How strong is the relationship between age and reemployment speed? (b) Does age disadvantage individuals with respect to other reemployment outcomes? (c) Is the relationship between age and reemployment outcomes mediated by job search activities? (d) Are these relationships generalizable? and (e) Are these relationships linear or curvilinear? Our findings provide evidence for a negative relationship between age and reemployment status and speed across job search decade, world region, and unemployment rate, with the strength of the negative relationship becoming stronger over age 50. Job search self-efficacy and job search intensity partially mediate the relationship between age and both reemployment status and speed.