Is 35 past it?

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Thanks to age discrimination legislation, banks are said to be hiring older bankers with all the zeal of teenagers purchasing alco-pops. Is this really true?

A study by financial services recruiter Joslin Rowe suggests older people (ie, anyone aged 35+) now account for 18% of people changing jobs, up from 14% five years ago.

The same study suggests that people aged over 56 are also moving into new finance jobs more freely than before - these days, the 56+ contingent account for 0.5% of people changing jobs, up from 0.1% in the ageist days of 2003 (a 323% increase, as Joslin Rowe's PR points out).

Putting aside for a moment the question of whether 0.5% really represents a new paradigm in anti-ageism, do banks really want to hire older people?

The answer, sadly, is no. The chief exec of one front-office search firm says there's a 90 year-old somewhere in the City, and there might be a bond salesman who's had the same job for 20 years somewhere else, but on the whole banks are still clamouring for the elixir of youth.

"It's all about control - it's much easier to control someone in their 20s than in their 40s and 50s," he says.

And if you lose your job once you've hit a certain age? Don't count on walking into another one quickly.

Figures from Fairplace, an outplacement provider, suggest it takes a redundant banker an average of three months to find a new job. For people aged 50+ that time is doubled.

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