We need a debate about ageism in the industry

I am writing to bring to attention the appalling way with which senior graphic designers who are over 40 are treated by recruiters and consultancies in this country.

I have more than 20 years experience in the industry, working both in the UK and overseas, the last 15 in fmcg packaging. You would have thought that as there is a huge shortage of experienced packaging designers, I would have no problems in finding a position.

But since my arrival back in the UK, I have applied for more than 25 jobs and not received any replies. When I get in touch, I am told that I don’t fit the profile – I haven’t worked on a specific type of account, or for a top ten London consultancy, or even a top five consultancy.

However, I have worked on blue chip accounts around the globe for some of the largest brands on the planet, and I have led teams both here and overseas. Gaining all this experience and knowledge apparently counts for nothing.

To add insult to injury, I see jobs listed for senior designers with three years experience. When I started, you got to be a middleweight when you had five years. Experience counts for nothing these days.

I realise that many recruiters will start jumping up and down, claiming it’s not their fault and it’s down to their clients’ specific criteria.

In some ways, design consultancies are to blame as well, but the frustrations being caused are down to the recruiters’ attitude towards candidates.

Someone has to stand up and say something about this idiotic situation, where nine out of ten jobs advertised in Design Week and Creative Review are through recruiters alone.

Ageism is rife throughout the industry in this country and no one is prepared to do anything about it. If there are any like-minded, frustrated designers and suits out there (as I’m sure this doesn’t happen just to designers), stand up now and be counted.

There has to be a debate, and the sooner the better. Rant over.

Name and address supplied

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