Got laid off aged 39 (no redundancy, no assistance, just two weeks notice and a P45, along with the entire product design team. Oddly, just after we finished the design. Imagine that.). Finally found permanent work last year - aged 49. My background: various positions gave me lots of breadth of knowledge (as required by my various roles over the years), an ability to learn very quickly, but admittedly not much depth in many areas as I never got the chance before the technology changed again. Also I'm not a good politician. People who can "schmooze" have a definite advantage, regardless of their actual skill levels.
Most common phrase heard: "you're overqualified". Most common insight: nobody in the I.T. organizations that I got interviews for was over 25, except the "boss", who was still under 30.
In the 10 years of analysis that was forced upon me by this protracted period of underemployment (I got a few gigs, the usual bottom-of-the-monkey-barrel type jobs) I came to this conclusion: corporations have been smothered by HR and recruiting agencies who don't have a fucking clue what technical organizations actually need.
All they look at is an increasing irrelevant series of buzzwords for current fads, not the ability to actually apply current knowledge, learn new stuff, or heaven forbid CREATE new buzzword technologies. I've found that the only way to find work these days, especially as one gets older, is to completely bypass anything that smells of H.R. or recruiter and talk directly to the people who actually need folks on their teams.
Even then, it's not always going to work given the utter level of incompetence some managers have these days - people who seem to think that giving "exams" that simply require regurgitation of particular pages of Microsoft manuals is a way to find competent help. I have to laugh though, the last guy that did that was in charge of the team responsible for the 6 *day* downtime on systems that I would have considered "critical" (as in, medical monitoring systems in a rather large hospital group).
What, me, bitter at having had the 10 supposedly "most productive" years of my life wasted by faceless drones who (in at least three cases) didn't know the difference between an operating system and a browser, but were deemed fit to judge me for a technical position? Yeah, I guess I am.