Despite layoffs in recent years, employers are seeking seasoned job applicants.

The gap in lengths of job- search between older and younger workers began to narrow from the mid-1980s onward, according to data collected by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement consulting firm.

For the past several years, over-50 and under-50 workers have been winning new jobs in about the same amount of time - slightly more than three months. "Companies want people who can do the job right now, who have expertise and who can wear more than one hat," the report says.

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