Let’s Talk Seriously About The Aging Work Population!

First of all let me start by saying that I am 48 years old. Technically, I am a baby boomer. I have worked on the corporate and agency side of recruiting/HR and hired well over 900 people in my career and I have to honestly say that very few times has age been a factor in my hiring decisions.

I know, age is not supposed to ever be a factor in hiring, that’s discrimination, but when you have a job where someone needs to lift heavy boxes continuously, younger backs usually prevail. If you are hiring someone to mentor a team, a seasoned veteran with some experience is often a better choice.

I don’t buy into the “we have a better work ethic” than younger workers. Personally, my children have much the same work ethic as my wife and I have. During the tough economy, while in school, my children have had at least one job and often 2 jobs. The work ethic comes from family values and the desire to be better.

The recent college grads who are singing the woe is me, how do I get a job if nobody will give me a chance to get experience tune are the same people who decided to forego the internship and attend the parties while in college. They were sunbathing over the summer while others were interning or working and making great contacts. Yes, not all, but I experienced this first hand in college.

As the sports director of a large college radio station I had 30 or so people I had to coordinate and train. I made myself available for the entire year to help them learn and grow their skills. At the end of my tenure, as we were just weeks from graduating, a friend asked if she could put that she worked for me at the station on her resume, but not once did she actually do any work or learn anything. I told her do whatever she wants because if she got an interview they were going to flush out that she had no experience. Last I heard she was working at a major network…as their receptionist.

I guess my point is…there is no substitute for experience. Managers who are in their 30’s should try to understand that someone in their 50’s and 60’s has a different look on life. They aren’t looking to necessary climb the corporate ladder to make all the money they can, but rather put in a hard day at work and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It’s a work life balance. Someone in their 50’s might have kids who are out of college and their home paid off, so they don’t need the 150k job downtown, but they will take the 100k role closer to home. Are they overqualified, probably. Can they do the job? Not always. See I understand that more experience doesn’t always mean you are qualified to do a job for less money. You still need the appropriate skill set and personality, but if you have those and are willing to take less money and want to move away from the stress of a manager’s job, please try to understand that that is not a bad thing.

With the aging population younger managers are going to have to get over the fact that older workers might not want their job and they shouldn’t feel threatened.

On the flip side of the coin, I would rather have some 20 something’s I know run my business over workers more than twice their age. There are some ridiculously bright young people out there that deserve a shot, so don’t look at how young they are, but what they bring to the table.

Take age off the table and let’s all get back to work.

No really, get back to work…this blog post has been long and unless you are a speed reader you now owe your company like 7 minutes.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume


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