That's why the government is launching a trial scheme next year to help older people find work.
An estimated 1.2 million over-50s are unemployed and "willing to work" - and if they all found jobs it would add £50bn to the economy. Employment Minister Esther McVey pointed out that it is wrong that so many skilled people are "locked out" of work.
Long-term unemployment in the wider population fell 16% in the past year - but joblessness among the over 50s fell by only 3.5%.
The trial, to be launched in April, will include training in CV and interview skills, the internet and social media, as well as "career reviews" with an expert to identify skills from previous work and any training needs.
"Champions" will be appointed in seven areas of the UK. That will cost the taxpayer £250,000 but if they have any success in helping people back to work the scheme will very soon pay for itself.
McVey said that part of the programme is about "challenging outdated stereotypes".
"The plight of unemployed older workers has gone under the radar for too long. There's something fundamentally wrong with so many skilled and experienced people finding themselves locked out of the workplace simply because of their age," she told BBC Radio 5 live.
She pointed to "record numbers" of people getting into work since 2010, adding that in the past year more than 250,000 people over 50 had found jobs.
Ester McVey explained that the scheme is not in any way about older workers taking the place of younger employees.
"More jobs are being created in the UK than anywhere else in Europe. We've just got to make sure that everybody is a part of that growth" she said.