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Am I too old to start a career in consulting??

 
#1 Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
13/06/2006 12:35

Tallstory

I am 47 and recently made redundant. I have a strong business background and have been a company Director. I wonder if now it is too late to make a career change and consider consulting. Do any of the recruiters or consultancies look for older candidates without previous consulting experience??

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#2 Re: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
13/06/2006 19:20

old man

I was made redundant and became a consultant at 43 so it is possible but not very easy. You have to have marketable experience in the right industry and apply at the right time (now is a good time).

The more senior the role, the more likely it requires consultancy experience. So you need to think about how you position yourself - could be worth aiming slightly lower than you might for an industry position.

You will discover there is a huge amount of age discrimination in recruitment generally and this is almost universal in Strategy Consultancy and Recruitment Agencies.

You may be better waiting until October then at least you can sue them under the Age Discrimination Law when they reject you!

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#3 Re: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
13/06/2006 20:38

Doug

If only Old Man, if only. There are big problems with this legislation, and few that think that it will give them any sort of protection against discrimination in October are going to be successful in the Tribunals afterwards.

The main difficulty will be proving that actual discrimination took place. The employer will have all of the records and all the details of other candidates and their qualifications. It will be extremely difficult for anyone who suspects that age discrimination has been committed to prove this. The stock defence from employers will be "We selected another candidate who was better qualified for the role". It will be extremely difficult to prove otherwise in almost every case. A candidate who may feel that they have been discriminated against solely on the grounds of age will not even know who the other candidates were in most cases, let alone what their qualifications and ages were.

There is about one gambit only which will work. That is one successfully deployed already by some who have suspected race discrimination in selection.

Send two applications for a role, with identical profiles but different ages; one with your true age and the other with an age of 28. (You must use different addresses of course.) Then when the one with the age of 28 is called to interview you have them. This can be worth £50, 000 tax-free! They cannot escape from that one. It has been used successfully in the Industrial Tribunals.

Another Old Man

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#4 Re: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
14/06/2006 10:54

A Headhunter

Another Old Man,

Interesting ploy - but what you are acutally commiting is fraud - becuase you will be mis-representing yoursefl in your CV and providing incorrect details. The company you are applying to will then just use the defence "the candidate fradulenty presented himself / herself and misrepresented their experience -on which grounds we rejected him / her"

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#5 or....................
14/06/2006 11:46

p

you can convince a younger man to legally change his name to yours, and then show up at the interviews with you and say youre twins. a colleague of mine once did it when he applied to argos but they rejected him because he was hispanic.

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#6 Re: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
21/06/2006 09:05

Doug

That is incorrect Headhunter! I appreciate that the fact that this strategy has already been used successfully in race and sex discrimination cases probably scares the pants off you for your future continuance of your evident present gambits after October (since headhunters and recruitment consultancies are amongst the worst offenders in the practice of Ageism), but there is in reality, if you look more carefully at the facts, no "fraud" in this strategy which could be in substance "misleading" and causing an employer to make a wrong decision.

An applicant is not misrepresenting anything except his or her age. To do that is not fraudulent since it will be illegal to use that element at all in selection after October. For any employer to claim that this element of misrepresentation was fraudulent will imply that they were concerned that they might be mislead by it and thus not be able to discriminate as they would have wished to continue to do. It is exactly on this basis that they will be found to be guilty of contravening the new law!

So sorry as I am to see you squirming so much, I must warn you that your hope that you can continue as you evidently wish to do against this gambit is completely misplaced. Your only defence against this strategy, to continue as you are and evidently wish to do, is to examine all CVs much more carefully, comparing them to ensure that there are never two which have even remotely similar qualifications and experience over longer or shorter periods with different ages. (Remember also that there is no fraud in ommitting some qualifications from a CV!)

I repeat: this is not a theoretical strategy for beating recruitment specialists like you! It has already been used and accepted by Industrial Tribunals in hearings, where they have found not fraud on the part of the applicant but contravention on the part of the recruiter or employer. I would also warn you that if you continue to reject older more experienced candidates your headhunting entity could be found to be guilty of contravention also, not just the principal you represent. That could mean a hefty award against you or your entity!

I would mention one other issue also. The new legislation has no lower age limit in its enforcement (which I believe to be entirely ridiculous). This means that before long someone is going to successfully bring an action against an employer or recruiter for age discrimination, due to their being only 15 or some equally ridiculous age; i.e. that they have been rejected due to their age being too low! Wait for it, then you will believe me.

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#7 Re: or....................
21/06/2006 09:07

Doug

Surely that was Racial Discrimination then? Also a hefty award if contested and won?

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#8 RE: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
27/09/2006 20:41

Boxershorts to Tallstory (#1)

Hi Tallstory,

As pointed out by some of the other comments in this thread, there is an element of (unintended?) ageism involved. If anything, I'd say that higher age should be more credible in the consulting game than lower (see my other thread "How can you be a consultant if ..."). Assuming you have the right blend of skills and experience (and being a Director with a strong business background puts you on the right track), I'd rather see the grey hairs and battle scars if I'm to believe you. Too many consultants these days are kids full of theory with no practical understanding of the real world!

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#9 RE: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
27/09/2006 21:18

Anders to Tallstory (#1)

Responding to your initial question.

You'll never really know if you are too old or not.

If you apply and get a role within consulting then you are not. If you apply and don't secure a role, then perhaps you applied for the wrong role!

What I would suggest you investigate is the interim management option if you are unsure about consultancy.

Kind rgds

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#10 RE: Am I too old to start a career in consulting??
28/09/2006 07:47

Bash to Anders (#9)

Tallstory, try contracting... its a good way to get into consulting and also gain some rapid and diverse experience....Good Luck

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