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Would you hire someone over 45? A Debate
Would you hire someone over 45? This topic has created a lot of stir over a number of social media circles. As part of our upcoming forum on Wrokplace Diversity we have included an interactive debate just on this topic. The debaters will each put forward their arguments about age discrimination in the Australian workplace, and then the floor will be opened to questions from the audience. Facilitated by: Ruzika Soldo, People and Culture Manager, University of New South Wales Debbie Sonin, Managing Director, D.K. Sonin & Associates and Heidi Holmes, Managing Director, Adage.com.au will take part in this debate. Also hear about: * Building diversity requirements into the recruitment process * Creating an inclusive and harmonious organisational culture * Making the business case for diversity and flexibility Workplace Diversity in Australia Where the bloody hell are we? 24-25 May 2012 Sebel Surry Hills, Sydney http://www.arkgroupaustralia.com.au/EventsE011WorkplaceDiversityinAustralia.htm Hear from our expert panel of speakers from: * University of New South Wales * Railcorp * WDS Limited * University of Western Australia * Clayton Utz * D.K. Sonin & Associates * Adage.com.au * Corrs Chambers Westgarth * People + Culture Strategies * Disability Employment Australia Official Linked In Group: Diversity Asia Pacific Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=3516810
Katie Bratland • I'd be interested to hear how the debate goes. As someone entering that demographic, it's sad to think that we even have to engage in this conversation. Individuals at this age have such a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer and organization. I hope to hear some positive results from the debate. If possible, please post a link to a page that will show the outcome.
Ed Gruber • Pity there's even a discussion re: this topic. Whatever happened to hiring the best person for the job? But, in support of at least seriously considering seniors, the following from Senior Magazine Online: Employers are now starting to figure out what seniors have known all along - Seniors make great employees! Why hire seniors? Seniors have had to learn to adjust to life's circumstances. In most cases, they have learned adaptation techniques that their younger counterparts will not develop for years to come. Here are just a few of the things you will discover about hiring seniors: Seniors are a very loyal market that comprises 25% of the population, is growing, and controls 77% of the financial resources in the United States? Many of your customers are over age 50. Hiring seniors also shows that you are interested in serving this market. For the most part, your clients are far more comfortable with people that are their own age. Since many businesses don't put seniors out in front where they are visible, doing so will make your business stand out. Hire senior employees to attract senior customers away from the competition. Seniors are generally more reliable. They've done their job-hopping and they don't have sick kids at home or have to make an emergency rush to the school to pick up Junior who has a fever. Seniors take their jobs more seriously. They understand that jobs for seniors are a bit harder to get, and therefore, their jobs are worth more to them. How much does it cost you to hire and train an employee and how much does it cost you if you have to fire
someone? Your turnover rate is lower with seniors and so therefore, your employee acquisition and training costs are cheaper. Seniors know that every job isn't perfect and have had the experience of working with and for people that aren't perfect. They also know that your customers are not perfect, and have had to learn to deal with it all. Seniors rarely leave jobs because things are not perfect. Seniors are generally cheaper to hire, even if you pay them a higher wage. For all the reasons mentioned here, seniors stay at one job far longer than do their younger counterparts, they have more experience to draw from, and are therefore, easier to train. While seniors are no strangers to romance, they aren't pining away over and flirting over at the water cooler or in the hallway with the latest hire. Emotionally stable employees work better and are more reliable. Seniors haven't gotten so many years behind them without learning some very valuable lessons. These are lessons that some new kid with the lip ring won't even know about for another 20 years. Seniors who are on Medicare are cheaper to hire. Even if you provide them with a Medicare supplement policy, it is far cheaper than a full insurance HMO or PPO. Seniors may not be as strong or as fast as some of their younger counterparts. However, if you provide them with the proper tools and a bit of assistance for those rare heavy tasks, they will probably get the job done faster, better, and without the supervision that would otherwise be necessary. Seniors still remember and understand the effect of common courtesy and customer service. They understand that customers are not a nuisance, but the reason that they have a job in the first place. Their work ethic is more evolved. Most know the value of a smile and a handshake in making and retaining customers. They have learned that their job is not guaranteed, and that taking care of a customer is far easier than finding a new job.
Ed Gruber • And... When I was in a position of hiring, too many (not all), but too many younger applicants from some of the country's finest universities, couldn't write, couldn't spell, didn't know geography, were so technology-oriented they were short on social skills. were expectedly naive about the world of business (not to mention the world). We hired the best of the lot, trained them well, and I am proud that many are now successful business people. All that said, "experience" is the best teacher - and that's why seniors make for serious applicants. If the goal is to build from within, who better to teach the younger hires and set the best examples than the battle-tested seniors?
Mark Sofman • Right on, Ed.
Kimberly Fox DeMeza • It is the smart and forward thinking company that has a balance of age. There is much to be gained from the young and "wise" alike. I was hired at my company because they wanted my experience and maturity.
Arlene Hauben • Ed, thank you for speaking on our behalf.
alicia accardi • In every hiring/employee management situation that I have ever encountered, there have been great employees and not so great employees. Age was not a factor, personality and knowledge was. I have had some high school employees that could outwork, outlast and outwit the best. I had some who stole and called in sick repeatedly. I had some more mature employees who were funny, loyal, hardworking and wise--I had some who were lackluster, whiny and stubborn. Succesful placement depended on the person, the business and the goals of the organization. If I opened a business today, I would definately balance both young and mature. There is a particular role for each one--It's up to ME, the manager/director/cheerleader to place each person into the right role so they can shine and my business can benefit.
KamaUnfollow Follow Kama Kama Timbrell • I don't know why anyone - at least in the U.S. - would debate this topic from the side of not hiring someone 45+ since it would open themselves up to an age discrimination lawsuit.
Ed Gruber • Kim and Alicia: Seen some mature young people and some immature oldsters in my time... so measuring by factors that include knowledge and personality as Alicia cites, makes all the sense. I go back to my original opening statement about hiring the best person for the job. Age? I'm told it's a state of mind.
alicia accardi • It is, Ed. I may be past the 45 mark, but my mind mostly feels 12 :)
EdUnfollow Follow Ed Ed Gruber • Alicia: Twelve??? You're such a kid.
Ed Gruber • Kama: I'm no civil liberties attorney - or any kind for that matter, but I believe debating is an American right. I do believe the issue itself is a ridiculous one considering the common sense of hiring the right person for the job no matter the age (or sex).
Girish kumar • Age discrimination leads to law suit. I am joining hands with Ed. What he said is right. When you hire some employees you can decide to hire an aged or young employee. But, do remember that there is a huge difference between the aged and younger, like an Elephant and a Goat. Outlook, efficiency, experience, social mentality, engagement factors, time-mission, expertise, morality etc can only be seen in aged employees, and they are reliable. It's true, regarding energy levels, but not in thinking patterns, assumptions. Western countries proved that aged can work better by appointing them. Like India and other such nations, they still depends upon youngsters. But the youngsters has aspirations, and they will jump from one company to another only for profit. Here I have to suggest that our perceptions should have to change. Hire employees without age discrimination. You can test them by touchstone methods. But, please don't take decisions simply based on age factor.
Paula Friedman • I find it morally repugnant that there should even be such a debate about whether it is right to discriminate against people based on age. Imagine such a debate if it were, for instance, ". . . not to hire a person who's over 3/4 black ancestry?" or---well, you get it, I'm sure. It is horrifying--much worse than sad-horrifying that such a debate is being held.
Keith Bryer • Ok. Now we are all on the side of the angels, let's look at it coldly. In societies where the age balance is normal and not distorted by war or family planning (China comes to mind) there is a good reason for retiring people at 65 -- it makes space for the young up-and-coming for one thing, but there are other reasons and here one has to generalise. Older people tend to have short fuses, they do not suffer fools gladly; they also think things were always done better in the past ( when school leavers could spell and wrote, for example); they like to sleep in the afternoons and sometimes they nod off in meetings; they tend to have bladder problems; they are often short on tact, having spent all of theirs sucking up to their bosses in the past. And so on. In short young people find them a pain. PS I am one of them
Deborah DUnfollow Follow Deborah D Deborah D Russell • @Keith - I hope you're kidding. Your description of an older person is depressing and it does not apply to any of my my older friends or relatives. Maybe you should see a doctor.
Paula Friedman • Deborah, I was amazed by Keith's statement too, but then I realized he must be parodying the "me hard realist--morals are for softies" supposed business strategic planners who chatter "thinkoutathebox" and such. Not to mention a great send-off on the ageist "old folk with bladder problems" who "nod off at meetings" routine.
Kama Timbrell • @Ed: I never stated someone wasn't free to express their opinion. However, if one expresses an opinion in a public forum that shows a bias against older workers, ought not be shocked when that publicly stated bias is used as evidence
in a claim of age discrimination. Anyone can debate in a public forum. However, they have to accept the risks of publicly stating a bias against a protected class.
Arlene Hauben • Just remember that if we are blessed with longevity, we could spend half of our lives, or more, past the age of 45. Certainly, most of our adult lives will be spent over the age of 45. Age is really more about how you feel, look, and think. I am much wiser and intuitive now that I was in my 30s. Also, I have had more practice writing and am better at handling bosses. I have learned how to give more tactful answers.
Keith Bryer • Ok, I was kidding. But there is a lot about the issue that is never spoken so I thought I would get it on the table. Sorry if it offended the politically correct. My issue is that the waste of talent, knowledge, expertise, and wisdom is bad enough when companies get rid of people after the age of 45, but the waste is doubly so after the age of 60. These days people of 60 are as fit and as healthy as people 50 years ago were at aged 50. I find it interesting that only two people reacted negatively to my initial comment.
Paula Friedman • Actually, there are four persons (count them) who reacted negatively to your first comment, Keith. Others probably couldn't take the time to.
Keith Bryer • I was only sent two, but no matter. Any of the other two men?
Ed Gruber • Kama: You're correct: "anything you say might be used against you in a court of law..." and speaking out on controversial topics does have its risks. Keith: No response to your post from here - I feared you were suffering Alzheimer's. (Just kidding.)
Keith Bryer • No, merely poking the nest a little to see what flies out.
alicia accardi • Keith: Good for you. It's a discussion, after all. I am amazed at how emotional this 'discussion' has become, and how often people find it necessary to chide others or make sure they understand the political or the legal implications of a casual comment. I am absolutely NOT offended that there is a debate in Australia about hiring or NOT hiring people over 45---and if you read the original post, it is in an environment where the topic is Building Diversity In The Workplace. So, I would imagine their focus is a positive one. This is a discussion, folks. Ain't it grand that we can share our thoughts freely? Take a moment. Lighten up...and live longer!
alicia accardi • FYI I'm way past 45...
alicia accardi • FYI again, if an employer makes the mistake of not hiring me becasue I'm way past 45, well, they lost out on a great asset and I probably wouldn't work there very long, anyway :) I have choices.
Gwen Watkins • Somethings can't be Googled! Such as remembering the last recession (and surviving it), being able to discuss the realities of keeping morally bankrupt clients, knowing that technology is a tool, not an answer and that wisdom sometimes comes with keeping quiet. I think Keith is referring to my father-in-law, who finally gave up work in his 80s and now, approaching 90, agrees his landmark book on marketing for South Africa could probably use an update!
Brian Keefer • Personally, I aim to hire the best person for the job, and I advocate for diversity in the workplace (including age). But I understand why the question is being asked and why it's important to discuss it. Look at any recent list of job openings, and I'll bet most are looking for 5, 7, 10 years of experience. Not too many positions require 20+ years of experience. That's why many people I know over the age of 40 are told they are "overqualified" by some employers. But if they have the skills and appropriate experience -- and are willing to work for the salary being offered -overqualified could be a blessing.
Ed Gruber • This morning I received this e-mail - propitious and profound; one of a group of letters kids sent to God: "Dear God
Instead of making people die and haveing [sic] to make new ones why don't you just keep the ones you got now? Jane" Out of the mouths of babes..... Gwen: I like the words "wisdom" and that "technology is a tool." Brian: It's not how many years, but their quality.
Judy McLarty, APR • I am well past 45 and have had an amazing career that will go until I die. My worst experience of ageism in the marketing/communications/pr workplace was when I was asked to come in to an agency that was looking for a writer for a new project. I arrived with my portfolio, lots of energy and enthusiasm. The person who interviewed me was about 25, young Swedish woman (new to Canada), who walked in to the small meeting room, took one look at me and actually said, "Oh, I was expecting to hire someone a great deal younger." I asked, "What is the project?" She said, "We're opening a new seniors retirement centre." Naturally I mentioned that my parents and all their friends were in that demographic, and that I knew instinctively what would sell to that upper middle class, retired age group. But she was set on hiring a "YOUNG" person!
Larry Wall • I am in the 60 year old age group who was asked to leave after 22 years with the same company. The new president wanted to go in a new direction, but he never defined that that direction for me and every comment I made or question I asked was viewed as a negative. So I have 22 years of PR experience and 16 years of experience as a newspaper reporter I have been unemployed for 15 months, have filed closed to 200 applications, had about six interviews, been turned down by computer applications in 20 minutes are less and the prospects do not look good. Granted, I am not in a great market,but relocation is out of the question for a number of reasons. One piece of advice I give to everybody, get a work contract that says what benefits
you will get if you are terminated after you are eligible to retire. In my case, I would have normally been able to continued my company insurance by paying half of the premium. Instead, the company paid COBRA for a year. After that I was on my own. I could had continued COBRA for six more months, but the cost was $2,000 a month. So I went the limited medical indemnity plan approach because I cannot buy regular insurance because of my age and prior health conditions. A work contract will not guarantee you a job, but it may preserve your rights to some benefits.
Deborah D Russell • @Alicia: Many people, including myself, were somewhat surprised by Keith's comments because they perpetuate the negative perceptions and myths of older people. Sure, this discussion took an emotional turn by those unable to obtain a job and/or opportunity due to age discrimination. Millions of people, over the age of 45, cannot acquire a job to pay their bills (mortgage, utilities, etc), afford health care and struggle to maintain basic necessities. These talented, highly experienced older professionals do not fit into the "youthful" category many employers unfortunately created. You and many people, including myself, are lucky to have an opportunity to utilize our talents to generate income; however, others are not given a fair chance. No matter how qualified they are for the jobs, many older people continue receiving rejection email , are not interviewed or are completely ignored. They are labeled "overqualified" , which is code for being too old. At some point, many of these talented professionals become scared, emotionally and financially drained, and feel powerless. You have medical benefits, a steady income and a place to prove your worth to an employer who gives you an opportunity. Others, have not/will not be given the same opportunity due to their age. Your comment, "This is a discussion, folks. Ain't it grand that we can share our thoughts freely? Take a moment. Lighten up...and live longer!" is very cold and insulting to anyone struggling to obtain a job to not only feel like they are contributing to society, but also to prevent homelessness and in many cases, keep their families together. Always remember…one day you may become unemployed because your employer decided to replace you with a younger, less talented person.
Kama Timbrell • @Ed: I think it's less about personal risks, but more about the risks you hoist upon your employer should you actually state a bias against older workers. People get fired for displaying such poor judgment.
Ed Gruber • @Kama. Okay. That's why companies hire people like you/us. But getting fired for displaying poor judgment would be very personal.
aliciaUnfollow Follow alicia alicia accardi • Deborah: the original debate was about HIRING people over 45, not about people being fired for being over 45. See the original post that started the discussion, if you please. Have a nice day!
Deborah D Russell • @alicia: I did address the topic, "Would you hire someone over 45? A Debate" I'm having a fantastic day, thank you. Hope your day is bright and sunny, especially living in Florida.
Kama Timbrell • People get fired for poor judgment all the time. I don't see how being fired for exhibiting a bias against a protected class while "debating" a topic, which could land your employer with a discrimination claim, is personal. This is social media 101. Only publicly post things that you would want to be posted on the front page of the New York Times. No company wants to see one of their hiring managers state on the front page of the New York Times that he/she is biased against older workers.
Ed Gruber • My point was that if you're the one getting fired it's d-----d personal!!! That's real life 101.
Ali Abdul Ghani • Creativity and innovation have no age limits. Experience comes with age. The body might be getting lazier (a little) but the brain gets sharper.
Jonathan Nason • If even asked this question, my response would be why ever not? Its akin to asking me why I have a beard.
Greg Jackson • Would I hire anyone under 45?Maybe, but at 58 most problems that present have been solved many times, in many ways.My own career got turbocharged in my 50's, even then there was serious background mutters of "at your age/our age", "in our day"; all of which was actually totally irrelevant.I have folks still living on their own in their mid 80's, with genes like that why take 40 years plus expertise out of the market because of bizarre ageism.For an allegedly hip industry PR falls into some major cliches and stereotypes, the age thing is one of the worst.Now despite having young kids it must be time for me to gum my rusks and milk and go to sleep.
Dick Pirozzolo, APR • Having worked to promote school integration and equal opportunity when I began my career, I feel like we went back a half century – just replace "over 45" in this discussion with "Negro" or "married women who might get pregnant". Same comments, different discrimination. Moreover, when did "45" become old? Criminy -- Charlie Watts - the drummer for the Stones - is older than I am and Mick Jagger and I share a birthday. Or how about Matt Lauer, Brad Pitt, Laird Hamilton, Katie Couric, Julia Roberts, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Steven Tyler and Marco Rubio? Can't hire these codgers. And in three years we'll put Jennifer Lopez and Mariano Rivera, who are both 42, out to pasture. From my perspective I'll go with Al Pacino's great line in "Scent of a Women" -- "I'm just getting' started!"
Ed Gruber • To put things in perspective, I'll be 84 in July. I've recently written three novels - yet to be published, still perform knockout freelance writing for various clients, care-give a beautiful and loving wife of over 54 years, try to play a game of golf (12 handicap) once a week. can cook up a gourmet meal, shoot hoops with my grandsons (okay - only foul shots), cross swords on this site with the best of you, and not only will I go with Dick Pirozzolo's nod to Al Pacino, I'll add in Yogi's, "It ain't over till it's over."
Yolisa Tyantsi • Being over 45 I am curios about the outcome. Of course in South Africa no law prohibits hiring those over 45 its an unwritten rule. However, one thing I have observed is that the calibre of PR practitioners in this new generation is nothing compared to my generation and one before me.
David Rosen • A better question might be would you hire someone under 45. In all seriousness, age shouldn't be a primary consideration in fields that do not require a high level of strength and physical agility. The primary consideration should be the ability to do the job, which has three major components -- skill, relevant experience and in some cases personality or demeanor. It seems to me many people are actually in their prime at 45 and older in regard to these criteria. I'll be back in a moment -- bladder problem. Political correctness notwithstanding, Keith has articulated some of the unspoken and misguided employment biases against those of us over 60 -- 67 in my case. Of course he was kidding.
Jonathan Nason • David, I dont take that kidding for granted? For the Japanese, the gravitas to 'do the job' doesn't start until you're 45 plus. Well, that's my experience. Great discussion and some Governments ought to be listening in here and taking note..
LarryUnfollow Follow Larry
Larry Wall • Truth be known, it is about money, benefits and Social Media. If you are over 45 you really do not want to start at intern wages, but some of us would be willing. If you are over 45 with any previous health conditions, you want to work somewhere where there is a group policy, but your age and health might cause a premium increase for everyone. Finally, if you are over 45, it is assume that you are not up to date on how to use Social Media. The truth is that us older people, I am 60, have ideas about Social Media, they just do not fit into the mainstream of what everyone is doing, thus there is no uniqueness that can be utilized for the benefit of the client.
Paula Friedman • Larry has some good points here. I suspect, though, there's a baseline/undercurrent of "Those old biddies/codgers can't quite. . .sorta slow, y'know. . .I mean, it's not their fault or anything, and of course they'll say--hey they really think--they're sharp and quick and clear, just like us. But, y'know, they're not like us. They can't be like us. Good God! They better not be like us! 'cause if they are--if they are, y'know, let alone just-like-us enough to hire them!--why, that means that we, we too, we here with our dark, dark hair and smooth, smooth skins and. . .why, it means we might, us too, also get old." Seriously.
DavidUnfollow Follow David David Rosen • There's more than a grain of truth to what Larry and Paula say, but at the end of the day, it's not about money. It's mainly a bias and set of assumptions about seniors and our perceived technical skills and ability to get along with younger workers and relate to people in that age group. In most cases, we are filtered out by HR automatically and never get a chance to make our case. In addition, younger managers have a fear of people who may know more than them.
William Madaras • All this talk is great. Who is up to form a class action lawsuit against Google, Face****, and the other Silicon Valley kings of age discrimination?
Or perhaps we make this a campaign issue. How old is Mitt and Obama? Could they get private sector jobs based on their age? Enough talk, we need action. If you have some concrete ideas, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Aronson • As someone over 45 I have great difficulty understanding why this question would even be asked. It implies that people of that age have somehow become useless, feeble and totally without value. upon hearing the query I expect that next I'll hear, "...and should we shoot or hang them." I often wonder if it's worth hiring anyone under 45. Get some life and business experience under your belt and then come back to see if I think you arre mature enough for a job in my company. The way I see it younger people have to rely on someone else's experience to form an opinion. When you are older and been through a few life wars you have enough experiences of your own to be able to balance, analyze and then more properly utilize information from others. Youth has its curiosity, energy, and creativity but age has experience, wisdom and practicality. For an organization to work and produce at maximum efficiency the intellectual and physical dexterity of youth needs the experience and steadiness of more mature workers. So, with tongue in cheek and eyes rolling my response is, "Of course it is, what a silly question."
Y S Narayan [YSN] • "We are an equal opportunity employer". Almost all the companies I worked in, (blue-chip MNCs and leading Indian Corporates) touted this as a routine statement. But when it came to actual practice, the truth was quite ugly. I am over 45, and in my experience, most of my bosses who have been a good 10-15 years younger, have found subtle and ingenious ways of discriminating against me and other colleagues in the same age bracket, in the work place. Law suits against age discrimination in Indian companies? Something that is quite unheard of! So sad that in spite of the tremendous value that we seniors bring to the organization, there is a natural bias against us. Wish we had more Ed Grubers championing our cause in India!
Craig Lancto • I entered that demographic (over 45) more than 15 years ago. It seemed to work in my favor when I was sought out for my reputation, experience, and expertise. Then, when a new publisher "let me go," he said that it was because I was "too expensive." He had to cut costs and I was the newspaper's highest earner. I was fortunate to find another employer, a defense contractor, in a job that seemed perfect for me. I loved it and GS senior leaders repeatedly singled out for creativity and effectiveness. Then we lost the contract when a new contractor challenged ours as no longer being a small business. At the end of the day, two days before the end of the contract, the new contractor said that she was "letting me go," (deja vu) because she could bring in one of her own people for "significantly less." She brought in a 25-year-old whom my former staff members have described as a deer in the headlights. They carry the load and she doesn't even review. This is as director of communications at one of five DOD regional centers, not a lightweight job. Not only is age a factor, but also the typically larger paycheck that might also be unattractive to an employer who is more concerned with the ledger than quality. Recently, I applied for a job with a job description that could have been created using my resume as a guide. Initial interviews went very well and I was invited in for a face-to-face with two interviewers. As we walked along the corridor with one of them, he suddenly turned to me and asked, "How old are you?" I didn't get the job. I worry that the deja vu will become Groundhog Day.
Caryn Starr • Considering I'm 55 (turning 55 this week) and I'm quite busy, there are apparently plenty of firms that hire people over the age of 45 -- it's about their experience and ability to deliver, talk to clients like grown-ups, a lifetime of professionalism ... and making sure those who are hired are keeping up with the changes in the business (technology makes that hard sometimes but it's not impossible!).
Charles Mitchell • I agree with all the comments. Not only am I of that demographic having just turned 50 but I am a wheelchair user as well. Ive been pushing a chair for 29 years now and it seems as time goes on, my options become less and less. Count me in on a class action, I'm a double whammy!!!
Arlene Hauben • When I started a second career in PR, everyone said no big PR firm would hire someone in their 30s. That seemed to be the case. The national firms (I won't mention names) want young people just graduating from top colleges. I did manage to work my way into the profession by working in small agencies. Later on, fortunately, I found my way as a writer and editor. In this life, it's all about timing.
Rebecca L. Voss, Msc • I appreciate everyone's comments on this, and yes, I absolutely would hire anyone of any age who fills the skill set and personality, and cultural fit. To Keith, people may find your comment offensive b/c this is a serious issue that has far-reaching impact on peoples' lives and emotional states ... where humor is just not the best response. I do appreciate your clarification, though. I'm nowhere near 45 yet, but I feel a particular compassion - as a communicator by trade who faces her own recruiting struggles AND as a human being - for those directly impacted by this issue. I've even noticed support groups popping up in the US midwest to address older candidates' challanges and struggles in returning to work. I just wish companies had more of an open mind, vision, and willingness to hire the right person w/the right skills and personality/cultural fit who show they'll do the job well. Especially since business changes so rapidly where nothing/no one usually lasts forever. It seems to be a "buyer's market" where orgs invest tons of time and energy for the perfect candidate who 110% fits their every need. Certainly, it's their right to do so, but I also think of the time, money, and stress they put on their own system and people in accomplishing this. Of course, it just depends on their need and sense of urgency. Thanks again for everyone's contributions above.
DonUnfollow Follow Don Don Schmidt • Keith may be correct. I'm over 45 -- just barely, of course :) -- and I don't suffer fools gladly. Fortunately, experience has taught me that keeping an open mind tends to minimize the number people who turn out to be fools. I can't recall having met one for many years now. Unfortunately, as Keith points out, there are many negative perceptions about older workers -- no sense in sugar coating that. For example, some people might think that diminishing the validity of opposing viewpoints by generalizing them as merely "politically correct" rather than as valid arguments is indicative of "short fused" or "short-on-tact" behavior of people who suggest "things were always done better in the past." I can certainly understand how young people may find some of us "a pain." Regardless of the opposing viewpoints, Keith's comments infused some passion into the discussion. So, thanks for generating that discussion thread Keith. (Now that last sentence WAS politically correct! LOL)
Ferg Devins • gosh...a debate at 45...with "retirement" in mid sxities it seems like such a moot point...BUT...one can see that this kind of conversation even existing is worth debating. From my own perspective I share the view of others that one's thinking is as old as one's thoughts, not their physical age. I also like the knowledge factor assuming that we learn and gain more from experiences as we age (spoken like a true lad in his 50's)...I also think that a culture within business can encourage diversity on many fronts, one of which should also include age. Will watch with great interest...cheers to a great Earth Day everyone...@MolsonFerg
Bill Holleran • "Step aside, old man. Let moxie and imagination lead the way." That's the headline on Barry Ritholtz's (CEO of Fusion IQ) future-looking op-ed in today's
(4/22) WaPo Business section. Problem is, at age 62, I am not lacking for moxie and imagination -- but am denied the opportunity to demonstrate it by the 20- and 30somethings who are increasingly ruling the world of marcom, "15+" years of experience on the resume is quickly dismissed by career advice codebreakers as being both overqualified (salary level) and underqualified (knowledge and experience with social media). That's why I have taken the consulting route, where ageism is less of a factor.
Bill Strong • Sorry guys, but this conversation is akin to asking, "Would you hire a banana?" Total non sequitur. Theater of the absurd. You should hire people who have the talent and energy to do what you need, period. I would not, however, hire myself to work construction. Aren't there more interesting topics for a pr seminar? Sheesh! 1
Craig Lancto • As a banana, I think the discussion is on the mark. I have talent and energy, but I have white hair and I creak a little. Telephone and email interviews go very well, the problem seems to arise when they lay eyes on me.
Ferg Devins • whether the discussion is on the mark or not is on the mark...traditional PR folks would desire a prescribed guided conversation...with key messages and themes and ring fencing on what can and cannot be said...this string of conversation alone is a great example of the new opporutnities that exist in social media to just let the chattter fly...one can choose to step in or out or create their own discussion of importance...smiles...I wonder where all the youth are and what they are talking about...cheers @MolsonFerg
Deborah D Russell • @Ferg: The youth are talking about irrelevant and uninteresting topics: hooking up, new purchases, bars/restaurants, and each other (gossiping). It's interesting the number of companies placing their PR/Social Media responsibilities with the younger generation. However, when the $hit hits the fan regarding an irresponsible, insulting and ridiculous tweet, media quote and/or fb discussion their "youthful representative" carelessly placed, the company immediately hires a more "seasoned" professional who has common sense, experience and qualifications to distinguish the fire and potential backlash. Sure, anyone over 40 MAY BE slower; however, they are more methodical, vested and strategic. I don't know anyone over 40 who writes and/or post photos about getting drunk, a new sexual conquest or other nonsense via tweets or FB. My question for the poster, Steven.. Your forum is titled, Workplace Diversity in Australia. Isn't hiring someone over 40 years old, a part of a diverse work force? Perhaps, you should rename the forum, "Age Discrimination in the Workforce" and the panelist consists of civil liberty attorneys judges, law school professors, etc. Betcha, that'll generate coverage. Are you going to post the forum? Would be interested to hear Australia's take on diversity vs discrimination.
Paula Friedman • Not being an attorney, I cannot say what chances a class action suit of the type some here have discussed would have. But it seems appropriate. And-hard though it can be to find such a dedicated, even crusading, class-action or agediscrimination attorney as needed, this would be a worthwhile activity. Most of us here over 45--and some of us are over 60--have suffered from age discrimination, and current politics is certainly not lessening discriminatory trends, so shall we go for it? 1
Larry Wall • I worked my last job for 22 years. The previous job was short term, only 13 years. At 59 I was "let go" because my position was being eliminated. Two people were hired with a combined salary less than mind, no dependents (cheaper health insurance premiums and because of their age the disability package and 401K contribution was less. I was told I was too negative because I asked questions. Regardless, nearly 200 applications later and very few interviews I am still unemployed. Some jobs advertised as PR jobs are really not PR jobs. They are basically clerical positions. Other jobs may consider you, but if it is a government agency job, you start at the bottom of the pay scale and do not qualify for the retirement benefit for 10 years, but you still have to pay into it. I have gotten the overqualified response more times than I care to count. I have asked how can I be over qualified and add that I am not expecting to make the salary I was making when I left my last job. You give them a reasonable number and they say they will get back to you. Some jobs are for women only (not being sexist ladies) but a library PR job would involved working with children. They wanted a woman. Other jobs add new duties that are not listed in the application. The only solid offers I have gotten are from insurance companies, which pay solely on commission, so they have nothing to lose if I do not work out. If you read the advertisements, no one wants to train anyone any longer. Granted, I am not up-to-date in all the software to do things that I did manually. I kept my own media list. I did not hire a service to send out news releases. I wrote my own strategic plans. I did not need a software program to guide me through the way. I just wonder what is going to happen to all of these 30 years old when they reach their 50s and are eased out by younger bosses, who think they know it all. I will be able to draw Social Security in another year. At that point I will be officially retired. Retiring from my last job at 62 was part of my plan, with the idea of doing something else less demanding for less pay--that was a foolish idea on my part. The PR community has adopted the same principals as the legal, medical and other professions. Hire young people, work them 16 or more hours a day and then discard them in a few years, except for the very best, who will someday be burned out and leave on his own. Our business climate has to take a new view. Everyone does not have to know everything. People should be able to specialize and true leaders should then be able to
bring the necessary specialties together to complete a project. Today, it seems like an agency is just a bunch of one-man shops working in the same building.
Bob Aronson • You'll find boundless energy in youth and iwisdom in age. Neither can exist at the same time they do not co-exist.While young people may seem freer to break the paradigms of the past they can just as easily repeat them because they don't know what they are. We (us old farts) do. We generally don't waste time making the same old mistakes because we know we don't have the time to waste. If the decision to hire is made wisely I would always choose the older worker because the chance for a signficiant return on investment is far better. Younger people have to prod and poke and spin in circles to find information. People like me know what we know and what we don't know and we know where to look for what we don't know, access it and use it wisely. Would I hire someone over 45? Of course. But this string is focusing on "Do companies hire people over 45" and the answer is probably not and they don't because they are short sighted. Lay off a $100,000 a year leader and hire two $35,000 a year kids and on paper you can show me you got two qualified people for $30,000 less than the last guy. On Paper! In reality, while the two are stumbling over each other to re-invent the wheel I may have found a way to do without wheels...but then you'll never know will you? Yeah, you can talk about a class action suit but you have to prove real damages to recover any money and today's discriminating employers know exactly how to discriminate without leaving clues. A note to the youth who are displacing us older workers. There will come a time when your work colleagues will admire you for you creativity and wisdom. When you feel that admiration find a cardboard box and pack. They are about to replace you.
Julian Macfarlane • It all depends on the person. I don't think you an generalize. People in the PR and the communications fields -- if they are any good -- are both intelligent and creative. Those are the qualities that count -- not age. That said, some people just get smarter and smarter. Others, alas, dumber and dumber.
Julian Macfarlane • Adding to what I have just said, there is a reason why we are talking about this issue. We work with stereotypes and social mythology. "Age" and "Youth" are part of all that. Corporate CEOs are mostly Older, even while they insist on smart 20-somethings to manage operations. It is all Smoke & Mirrors. So, if you are over 40, you have to take the sheer irrationality of it all into account and game the system. I can be done. I think it's called Personal PR.
Alan Heath • I did not know people lived that long! I really find modern science to be utterly amazing - who would have thought that life could be prolonged by so much.
КонстантинUnfollow Follow Константин Константин Харламов • I am sure that companies need people over 45. Of course it depends on each person, but most people who are over 45 are wise and effective. They can give and teach young persons. They have experience that can not be bought and this is very important.
Nick Murphie • Wow... at 41, I find this thread very sobering... I did not consider myself in an age bracket that would have to discuss this issue, and find it distasteful for any worker well above that age bracket. If anything, with an ageing population and people staying in the workforce much longer than they used to, I would think it would be less of an issue being '45'... Isn't it
kind of a perfect time when a good two and a half decades' experience has made you very employable? I think Keith's comment "Older people tend to have short fuses, they do not suffer fools gladly; they also think things were always done better in the past" a gross generalisation. At the end of the day i hope "best person for the job" wins out, not matter what
Rebecca L. Voss, Msc • This is obviously a passionate topic for many of us responding above, as well as those out there following it. My best actionable advice is to read and carry this entire thread forward by encouraging and influencing fair hiring behaviors in your own organization. I've never really understood discrimination in general - be it age, race, religion, etc. What I have realized through my own recruiting struggles is a single certainty: A positive, skilled, harworking contributor is a positive, skilled, hardworking contributor; and a negative, lazy jerk is a negative, lazy jerk ... regardless of WHO they are. And I'd take the former in a heartbeat every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Dick Pirozzolo, APR • "short fuses!" I've found that the people with the least amount of time have the most patience. I also don't buy the argument that older people aren't social media savvy. We're in twitter, Facebook and linkedin, write blogs, post photos and video online and build build websites as well as run and participate in webinars. Not only that many of can rebuild a carburetor.
Richard Simpson • In the UK, where I am based, the Government has just abolished the right of employers to compulsorily retire their workers. This has created an interesting space for businesses to exploit, helping employers navigate the new legal pitfalls and also change their attitudes towards their workforce demographics to something more positive. How many people in their 60s, for example, are overlooked for training and development opportunities because they are coming up to retirement? That is discriminatory here and presumably it is in the US of A as well yet many employees feel such discrimination is the reality they have to live with.
Roger Marino • Andy Rooney was two times 45 and still an international contributor. We are the continuing sum of all of our experiences. Use it! The chinese know the value of aging and here they come.
Karen Heinemann • It recently came to my attention that being told you are "overqualified" really means "you're older than we want for this position and probably want more money than we're willing to pay".
Staci Harvatin • All of my mentors are in their 40s or older. Their guidance and advice has been extremely useful and they are all still excellent professionals in the field. If I was in a hiring position, I would absolutely consider hiring someone over 45 if they were interested in the position, including its pay and benefits. I would not assume that they weren't willing to take the position that they applied for. Silly
companies. I tried to refrain from commenting since I am on the other end of the spectrum and have to battle the negative stereotypes of Millennials. Nevertheless, I wanted to weigh in and let people that fall into the age range in question know that us kids value the opportunity to work closely with veterans.
Ed Gruber • @Staci: And we veterans will benefit from working relationships with co-workers your ages, as well. Most of us 45+ realize that we're not too old to learn. Especially how much Dulcolax to take each morning.
Craig Lancto • As I mentioned earlier, I am over 60 and it was I who introduced social media to the organization I just left. We used Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flikr and blogs. I revamped the communications office and wrote the media plan that is now being tentatively carried out by a 25-year-old who, my former colleagues tell me, seems lost. I have more energy and passion for my work than many of my younger colleagues--although I have no complaints about the young people in my office--also in their 20s--who worked hard every day. But I am--and look--over 60 and I do not think that people look at me and say, "Ah, experience and skill!" 1
Shannon Powers • Make that three, Keith. Hiring should be about qualifications, period. Sure, you can find people to fit any negative stereotype--that's why stereotypes exist. Assuming that everyone over 45 fits a stereotype means ruling out applicants who may have valuable experience and perspective AND be up-to-speed on technology, social media and other advancements in our field. Just the fact that they've survived may indicate that they are flexible, and able not just to embrace change, but to expect and plan for it. All that aside, you open yourself up to legal liability as an employer if you make any indication that you will not hire someone (or that you layed them off or treated them differently) because they are over 40. Federal and state civil rights laws have forbidden age discrimination for decades. There is a cost-benefit analysis involved in any hiring decision, and a set of general pros and cons that accompany any age demographic. Putting it out there that you would question whether or not to hire someone based on his or her age puts you at HUGE risk for legal liability. Even if you don't care about legal rights, discrimination or the benefits of hiring experienced professionals, you should care about your bottom line enough to keep your doubts to yourself. 0
Mark Sofman • To Shannon's points, it's also important to keep in mind that an age discrimination case tried before a jury might not be very advantageous for a corporate defendant. Just the same it seems age discrimination suits are very difficult to win. Either way, if your firm is in the hot seat, your corporate counsel will not be very happy with you or the amount of money and other resources he needs to spend to defend the company.
Lynne Adams Boschee • Seriously? It's all been said in previous posts. I'd love to see a debate on a topic worth discussing, not one that's already been handled by the law. 0
Dick Pirozzolo, APR • Lynne - unfortunately settled law does not eliminate discrimination. Brown v the Board of Educaton Supreme Court Decision of 1954 and the equal rights amendment of 1964 were important milestones but the law does not END discrimination. It takes open dialogue and diligence by well meaning people. 4
Michelle Watson • I have hired several people for various jobs and I can truly say that it would depend on the job, the person, their experience and their drive. Early on I made the assumption that because they have a college degree they would excel in an entry level position and move up quickly. I have been proved wrong on several occassions. In some cases these recent graduates (or career students) complained the most and reminded everyone around them about their degree/s. Their constant "I'm smarter than the rest of you" attitude gained them zero friends in the office. More experienced workers have mostly (with some exceptions) turned out to be more positive and proactive. In the end...it really shouldn't be about age at all. It should be about matching the job with the qualifications and personality. In a perfect world anyway.
Bob Aronson • Somebody indicated that this conversation was unnecessary because the issue has been settled by law. So has murder and rape but they still happen. Age discrimination happens every day. I know this string turned into more than the question asked for but itis obviously on people's minds. One more issue ...age and social media. I've been around longer than most of you on this string and have worked in PR longer than some of you have been alive and I'm still at it at age 73. Yes, I own my own company and have for many years but let me tell you what I do. Almost five years ago I was forced to retire in roder to get a heart transplant. When I got my new heart I decided on that day that the best way to honor my unknown donor was to tell the world about what a wonderful thing he did by giving me the gift of life. So, I started a Facebook Group, Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) it has 1700
members. I still administer it and participate daily. I am also the Facebook administrator for Gabriel House of Care at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Additionally since my transplant I have written 114 blogs on donation/transplantation and related issues www.bobsnewheart.wordpress.com. I have two other blogs as well. I am on Twitter regularly, I use LinkedIn about as much as anyone can, I have a video and two slide shows on YouTube, own and run two websites, have a spot on Pintererst and have published two books for Amazon Kindle and thats not the half of it.While doing all of that a little over two months ago I re-started my business. During the day I help my wife with her art jewelry business (she makes beautiful stuff), spend time with my woodworking hobby, work with clients, establish new client relationships and promote organ donation. I'm up every morning around 3AM writing and I retire in the evening around 10. I love every minute of my life. It is great. Now...if someone wants to suggest that because of my age I can't keep up, don't understand social media and am over the hill...I have a very long digit in the middle of my right hand reserved just for them. Us old folks ain't going out to pasture without a fight. I admire the enthusiasm, the drive and energy and the untapped brilliance of young people. But we need each other. They need my esperience and I need their creativity and energy...if they can keep up with me. Any employer who rules someone out because of age, may be making the mistake of a lifetime. I'm not saying all people over 45 (Oh to be so young again) are brilliant or even hard workers but it sure is wrong to assume they are over the hill because of age. Some people aren't any good at what they do regardless of age. Others can tackle any job at any point in their lives and succeed. Take people one at a time...never collectively and you won't go wrong. OK..I've said my piece. I rest my case...Phew! 4
Paula Friedman • Agreeing with Bob Aronson. Being old does not necessarily mean losing mental capacities or "energy," contrary to what people constantly are led by ridiculous advertising, television programming, and really dumb jokes to think. Until, of course, one becomes debilitatingly ill---and even then, as Aronson's account here makes clear, the debilitation, if any, can be very temporary. I've learned to crosscountry ski, among other things, after turning 60; truly, "old folks" aren't exactly what "young folks" may believe. In any case, anyone planning age discrimination is, keep in mind, contemplating a crime. 0
David Rosen • It's all been said. Of course experience as well as skills is what matters, and in my experience a clear bias exists against seniors for a variety of reasons. But the wold has changed, and this discussion is doing more harm than good at this point. So let's stop the whining and either explore realistic and construction solutions or move on to other serious professional matters. The talk about a class action suit is silly. A suit by whom against whom and with what data.
Paula Friedman • If protest objection to the unfair and legally and morally wrong is "whining," and if a class action suit is "silly," David, what do you suggest instead? Obviously not everyone here wishes to leave the discussion at this juncture. Your question "a suit by whom against whom and with what data?" is a very legitimate one, and perhaps we should be considering possibilities, as well as researching practitioners in the legal field; alternatively (or in addition), there are many, many LTE and other opinion-forming ventures which we, with our profession p.r. experience, combined should be able to make use of. 1
Bob Aronson • "More harm than Good?" What harm has this conversation done to anyone? When this many people comment on a topic it must be important to them. And, "Whining?" Who's whining. I just talked about how much fun I was having and I'm loving life. Just because we recognize the reality of age discrimination doesn't mean we are whining. If we are whiners then so, too, were Martin luther King on racism and Susan B. Anthony and her quest to allow women to vote. Does talking about an injustice make one a whiner? If so, add Moses and Christ to the list. They were two of the biggest whiners in history.
Rebecca L. Voss, Msc • I don't see anyone whining here. It's unfortunate that this is all someone chooses to take away from this very lengthy, passionate discussion.
This is an open and honest forum to voice opinions, and the best part of LinkedIn from a learning standpoint. Geez - I only DREAM that I could draw this type of openness and diverse viewpoint from my own organization! My hope is anyone reading this gains greater awareness, compassion, and ideas they can carry into their own org for their recruiting practices.
Jean Farmer • Is anyone hiring seniors at the moment? I was just "early retired" after 24 years and there's plenty left in my gas tank! 0
David Rosen • Of course it's an open forum, and we are free to keep complaining repetitively about what seems obvious to all of us, that bias toward hiring seniors exists not just in public relations but also in many other fields. But to what end? The "harm" in the discussion as I see it is the frequent suggestion of a class action suit, the occasional unkind words about our younger brethren and the collective picture we paint of ourselves as losers. This may well serve to bolster the view of younger hiring managers that they want nothing to do with the likes of us. Class action suits typically involve a discreet group of people who have been wronged by a particular organization or product. I don't think individual disgruntled senior PR pros who have been shut out by numerous organizations around the country and the world fall into this category. So who would be the defendant in the class action suit? Class action, no, individual lawsuits, when there is a strong case. Someone suggested earlier that the prohibition against age discrimination is not settled law. I beg to differ. Age discrimination in employment may be hard to prove, but it IS settled law. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.
Mark Mesesan, ABC, MA • My answer is, yes I would hire somebody older than 45, just as I would somebody younger, depending on if their skills and enthusiasm match what I'm looking for in a job candidate. Age has absolutely nothing to do with it. 1
Marvin Bell • This is a topic that many of us will have to tackle at one point in our careers. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to age. Younger doesn't always mean current and talented and older doesn't mean the opposite when it comes to skill relevancy. I know that for the person who is doing the hiring there sometimes exists a predisposition to hire someone that is somewhat like them ( young, middle aged, racially, gender). Sometimes we aren't conscious of these sociological and psychological factors, but they are there. You can often see it when you walk into an office and look at the composition of the staff. Somebody hired these people. So, I return to my opening statement...keep an open mind.
Roger Marino • Nice going Marvin: It also depends on how/and if this hiring coordinates with your "succession" plans.
Lara Willard PR Marketing Branding NH Boston • I'm still trying to get past the fact the the Forum has the phrase "Where the bloody hell are we" in its title. I've never done business "Down Under" but I can't see that flying in the US. Too funny...
Paula Friedman • We seem to have one or more here who believe that for a discriminated-against group to voice their objections/awareness is to "paint [them]selves as losers," to "whine," etc. I wonder if this person/these persons felt the same about black protestors during the Civil Rights movement. Yes indeed, these battles have been fought for too long--but exactly because those who are prejudiced cannot, to use Marvin's term here, "open their minds." 1
Ana Paula Sartori • Of course! I´m 37 and about one year ago I hired a journalist of 52 to work in my team. I can assure it was my best decision. She´s a great professional and her performance has been extremely positive for the company and clients. 3
Lia V. Mote • How can you reach a crucial decision to hire someone simply based on age?. It is irrelevant to the skills, experience, value and impact the right candidate can bring to a company or a project. To presume one's hirability based on age is a hasty generalization and completely undermining to that unique individual.
David Rosen • The harm we are doing is to ourselves. Pretend you are a 30 year old manager and read this thread. Would you hire these people? The class action suit nonsense and compariing our situation to that of blacks durring civil rights movement. Giive me a break.
Bob Aronson • After reading what the naysayers think I can only say with experience comes wisdom. When you are old you won't say age discrimination is nonsense. While certainly not on the same scale as racism ageism is real. Just because laws get passed doesn't mean the problem has ended. Those who deny that this is an issue have not faced it. Those who have faced it cannot deny it. I own a business, I have clients. Some of you say age is not an issue. I disagree. Answer me truthfully, how many of you would hire this 73 year old guy to work in your PR firm? (not that I want to...I've been self employed for so long I'd be a terrible employee) All things being equal...would anyone seriously consider me when you saw my birthdate of 2-17-39 on my application. In 1978 I was 39 years old and had just lost my job as press secretary to a Minnesota Governor whe he was defeated for re-election. Even at that age I ran into...."You are waaaay over qualified." Right...like I applied for this job because I didn't want it." I heard that miore than once. Today, I wouldn't even get an interview...bet on it. Someone is going to say that my example is extreme. No its not. I know many people my age who would like to find a job. No one is hiring them! 1
Deborah D Russell • @David: I agree regarding comparing this situation to "that of blacks durring (sic) civil right movement." There's no comparison. Hundreds of thousands of people marched and lost their lives to fight for others to obtain freedom and equal rights in "the land of the Free". That comparison is totally off base. However, yes, I would hire "these people" especially those qualified for the position. The person I would not hire is a non qualified person possessing a defeatist and pessimistic attitude. As a consultant, I'm sure you would feel differently if the University of Chicago and your former clients, selected a younger, less experienced PR professional to handle their accounts, instead of you. Their hiring decisions were based on age (much younger) instead of experience (skilled senior). Although you're familiar with the younger person work, which is basic bull$hit, s/he was hired. Usually, I'm very respectful of everyone's opinion and outlook; however, this time... It's obvious you've never, to your knowledge, been passed over or not hired due to your age. Nor have you experienced, to your knowledge, age discrimination in the work place. Believe me, many of the clients who "went with someone else" based their decision on many factors (proposal, fee, etc), but also your physical structure...ie: too old.
While your credentials are impressive, many people unfamiliar with your work, will not hire you...basing their decision on your age. However, I wonder how often you've sent a younger partner to provide a consultation or presentation to a potential client who best "look like them". Companies/businesses do this ALL the time to secure contracts. 2
Tonya Hayes • Here is what I know: it is hard enough being who you are, let alone being who you are not. (The real saying is - 'it's hard enough bein' who ya is, let alone bein' who you ain't'.)Be who you are. Be proud and that will, I promise, shine through. Don't manifest perceived baggage - age, gender, ethnicity, or short hair, for goodness' sake - and your genunine self will shine through. I promise. 1
Dick Pirozzolo, APR • David. Amazing how you use the lexicon of the 50's when you refer to the over 50 crowd. Yup I guess "these people" are getting too uppity. That's right keep our heads down, the Grecian formula handy and our mouths shut. By golly I WOULD match nut dammit my Hov-a-Round needs to be charged. 2
Tonya Hayes • I am in the over-50 crowd. Heads down? (I truly hope that was sarcasm, yes?) If our heads are down, how are we going to see all that the day has to offer? 3
Dick Pirozzolo, APR • Yes Tonya. Sarcasm. Now I have to change the ribbon in my Remington.
Paula Friedman • Hey, Dick, yeah way too uppity. Apparently can't be a civil rights "movement" issue until *after* hundreds of thousands protest--speaking of backwards-looking consciousness. @Deborah, actually I'd written "during the Civil Rights movement"; guess the typos came from someone else. But seriously, people, are we pretty much agreed that "would you hire someone over [pick an age]?" is discriminatory, wrongheaded, and wrong? And if so, what next? What should we do about its prevalence? 1
Deborah D Russell • @Tonya: for a member of the "over-50 crowd", you're beautiful. @Dick: you're also a member of the beautiful crowd. Hope no one sues me for sexual harassment. LOL. 1
Ed Gruber • @Deborah: Hey, how about me?
Tonya Hayes • @all - just beautiful. Here is a tiny aside: as I was reading Deborah's sweet comment, my 10 year old granddaughter called and wanted to interview a "senior citizen". How'st that for keepin' it real? At least, I am her favorite.
Tonya Hayes • Oh yes, and good lighting.
Deborah D Russell • @Ed: you're too beautiful/handsome for words... 1
Craig Lancto • I just had dinner with a senior leader at a huge national organization that I will not identify, but in the course of talking about my being available, he mentioned that someone in HR told him that she is not interested in hiring anyone over 42. I don't know where the magic number came from. Then I told him about this thread--and that I wouldn't identify the organization. 1
TonyaUnfollow Follow Tonya Tonya Hayes • @craig. That is just shameful. If that HR person is not yet 42, he will be. Truly, shame on them. However HR people never operate in a vacuum, so shame on the CEO. Wonder too, more east coast issue? 1
Julian Macfarlane • Unfortunately, that attitude is all too prevalent. You are either "over-qualified" (old) or "inexperienced" (young) -- but the labels are meaningless. They also indicate that the organization is managed by idiots, bureaucratic, and deserves to go bankrupt. But then again I run my own shop here in Japan.
Elizabeth Ki • I agree that employees 45yrs and older are more mature and therefore make more stable staff. It would be a pity to miss out on the value their experience brings to a firm. I actually started editing out my age when I send a CV out to a prospective employer just in case they think they should not hire someone over 45.
Beth Sisk • I have cut my resume way back to hide my age, and have had many interviews, up to five with one company, but when it comes down to it, have been passed over for a younger candidate every time for the past four years. Yes, I go back and check out who won the job through LinkedIn and other sources. Another friend told me he was interviewing for three years and only got his job when he colored his hair before his interview. How sad is that?
SallaUnfollow Follow Salla Salla Huttunen • Perhaps someone already mentioned this in the chain, but in case not, here comes. I just recently read about a German study showing that people aged 40-50 are most productive of all employees. And: people aged 50-60 are more efficient than people below 40. So, yes. Definitely would hire. Link to the study mentioned (it's in German): http://www.bmas.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/PDFPublikationen/fortschrittsreport-februar-2012.pdf?_blob=publicationFile
Christine Middleton • One other aspect I'd throw in is the fact that most boomers are upon retirement age, if not working past a point in time when they expected to be laying on a proverbial beach somewhere (even though most I know are anticipating a new chapter of more fulfilling work). The economy has definitely altered people's retirement plans and delayed an anticipated mass exodus, however, it's still going to happen even if at a trickle pace. Unfortunately, most companies are not prepared for the fall out. The question of not hiring 45 year olds and older, to me, is an example we're not thinking about the impact this departure will have on the workforce, nor the increased value placed on those in the next generation. If not handled with forethought and diligence in advance -- meaning yesterday -companies will wake up one day to realize a significant loss of knowledge share and leadership, never mind the impact on marketshare and profits. One strategy is knowledge capture and succession planning, of course. But there's also the reality that the next generation (including 45 year olds) is a lot smaller generation so they will quickly become a scarce resource. Simple economics of supply and demand so logic would tell me that any company that wants to ensure it doesn't skip a beat and continues to grow, it better invest now in experienced workers, including perhaps plans to contract with current leadership as part of transition planning. I can't help but have the vision of my five year old god daughter trying to walk around in my heels comes to mind when thinking about companies not hiring someone over 45.
Roger Marino • Experience is added value and the reason that talent like Payton Manning are hired and re-hired in the sports-force, making more money than countries. The value of a mixed staff of youth and experience has proved to be a winning combination in sports and at the corporate table.
Tonya Hayes • Roger. From your mouth to the CEO's ear. 0
Deborah D Russell • @Roger: well said. 0
Stef Van De Gehuchte • If the 45+ candidate would come out as the best in the hiring procedure, sure. Think of all the experience he/she will have to share: priceless! Age is but a number and says nothing about capacity.
Roger Marino • At any age, when a career becomes a job, it's time for unemployment. 0
Sarah Skerik • I've seen a lot of advice centering around the idea that you shouldn't give an employer the ability or a reason to discriminate on your resume. Edit your experience (no need to push it to four pages to show those first few jobs out of school) and don't include the years you graduated. And keep your skills current.
Roger Marino • Regardless of your age and experience(s), keep it short and edit, edit, edit; condense, condense. That is rule 101 in this profession. Editing, writing press releases and selling to get to the point by creating immediate interest with clarity. 0
Brenda Craine • Since when is "over 45" considered senior? I agree with Arlene ... for those of us lucky enough - it's mid life!
Kerri Glover • Keith, I was glad to see this issue on the table. I don't disagree with what anyone has had to say. But, in my experience, people who are under 45 are not hiring people who are over 45. We shouldn't theoretically have to debate this issue and it shouldn't be a concern, but if you have a career-oriented person who is hiring, how many of them are likely to hire someone with more experience? I think it's actually got more to do with experience than age. I'd like to think people are looking for the most qualified and experienced applicants, but I think it's far more likely that the human instincts for competitiveness and self-preservation will kick in for the majority of people under that age. Yes, there is more case law in age discrimination that should make it a concern, but if they don't have good HR or legal departments, that's not going to be a factor. And I don't think most people looking for work are likely to sue. Just some thoughts. 0
Jonathan Nason • And Kerri, the 45+ employee might ask and expect a higher remuneration. So why would an under 45, even consider them?
John Pilmer, APR • Wow! What a thought provoking discussion.Ed - ditto! Keith - I think I feel a short fuse coming on, must be hormones. Is my foundation covering my age spots well enough? Discrimination is a damning thing...for any reason, including age. Too fat, too short, too yellow, too black, too male, too female, too Republican, too Mormon. Women have enduring it for centuries, nations and races have been enslaved because of it. For a U.S. government job, white males may have a disadvantage. Craziness! Age discrimination is subtle, rarely out in the open where "the law" is enforced. So, boomers of the world unite, remember your differential advantage. We got skills. We're bigger than Costco! Focus on your strengths, eat less fat, work out more, put on some makeup and go kick butt with your vast wealth of know how. P.S. I've thought about starting another company hiring only people with 30+ years experience. We could call it Silver Sleuth PR or Yoda Marketing or...think I'll go take a nap now! 2
Craig Lancto • It is not only a matter of experience. Until recently, I worked as communications director with a DoD regional center. When we lost the contract, the new contractor hired a 25-year-old with no experience to replace me because she would work for "significantly less." For some reason, supervisors are not protected by the executive order protecting contractors in such cases, and all contract managers were replaced with entry-level people, relying on the staff that we had trained to train them.
Terri Johnson, ABC, APR, ABD • 60 is the new 45.
Paul Schroeder • Perhaps you Aussies are comfortable with putting your mature citizens out to pasture. I am not. People like me are extremely talented, computer literate AND have a work ethic that most young people don't understand. I really don't even want to know what you and your panelists decide because that won't affect what I do. Heck, I plan on working until the day I'm taken to the mortuary (Lord willing).
GeorgeUnfollow Follow George George Carson • Ed makes some very sound statements as did the quotes from Senior Magazine Online. Simply stated, you hire and retain those that are the most productive for the position you need. It was only a dozen years ago when the high tech boom collapsed. Why, the "young genius" minds that founded these companies hit a wall when they grew because of their lack of experience and poor people skills (thinking they were above everyone). So the gray beards had to return from retirement to re-build the industry. That included Apple when it hired back Steve Jobs. The rest is history.
Kerri Glover • Salary is definitely a concern in this economy, but someone above pointed out that if someone has applied for a position for which they are clearly "overqualified", they're mostly likely aware it's going to be a lower salary. I'm technically a "senior" and am now finding that some people doing the hiring are 15 or more years younger. In most cases, it doesn't get far enough for them ask what salary you'd be willing to accept. Which is why I say it may have more to do with the experience and the perception of who is more "manageable". Unfair, yes, but human nature is a tricky thing.
MargoUnfollow Follow Margo Margo Trott Mukkulainen • I believe the changes in our economy will alter the way we see this demographic, of which I will someday soon be a part. With people postponing retirement as well as living longer and healthier lives, workers in their mid 40s and 50s can also be seen as a great demographic for a new hire position, as they are most likely focused on their careers in a balanced way. They probably are not starting families or interested in job hoping. They also tend to have a good grasp on professionalism and personal responsibility on the job from decades in the workforce, too.
Glenn Reschke • It's sad that such ageism exists. Hiring someone 45 or over is not going to hurt anyone. Someone that age has wisdom and experience and those are invaluable.
Stephanie Michaels • Jeepers -- I am continually shocked that many of the advancements gained by the women's movement have been rolled back over the last 20 years but I'm horrified to learn that age will also be used against people -- and in the open! The only good thing about people discussing age is that it might get younger people to accept that with every passing day, they become older people. Add enough days and you have, well, old people. The alternative is unpleasant (i.e. death). Maybe if young people fully appreciate that they will be older people, they might not want to be so quick as to hold age against others -- it might even help them plan for their own future by increasing their savings and participation in pension plans. @ Keith -- it's not political correctness (silly phrase developed to make anyone who shows sensitivitey to a situation feel like a tool) that is the problem. I think people might not have read what you said as humourous. Even so, I don't know about South Africa but in Canada, we are already experiencing a labour shortage to the extent where we are hiring foreign workers on temporary visas, looking at raising the retirment age to at least 67 and possibly older, and that is just the start. I am not sure we care how old someone is. I have been working in my field for 33 years and can retire at 55 (thank god). I'll probably work after I leave this job. You said a couple of things that resonated with me -- not suffering fools gladly was one of them. One of the tenets in the communications industry is that we speak truth to power. I think you need a few miles on you to be able to pull this off. That's my bias.
Tom McFarland • I wish this debate was taking place in the USA. Many jobless individuals age 45 and older here have been out of work so long that the U.S. Department of Labor doesn't even count them in its monthly jobless numbers. They are among the 5.4 million nationwide that make up the "hidden" unemployed, that is, they are not receiving unemployment benefits anymore. They have stopped looking for work. And it's quite possible that most of them may never work again. Of the people age 55+ among the unemployed here, the average duration of joblessness is now nearly 56 weeks. Employers are posting jobs that say "only currently employed need apply." It's that bad. Our government is paralyzed. Employers don't want them because they think they've gone stale. Sound dire? How'd you like to be one of the ones trying to figure out how to get them back to work?
Merrie Street-Yosua • "Would you hire someone over the age 45? Why not? Performance, not age, matters to me.
Judy Gombita • I definitely think that introducing social media into (some) businesses has resulted in a great deal of "ageism." And I think it's dead wrong. Social media is simply channels and tools, it does not substitute for knowledge management, business acumen/decorum and loyalty. (My next PR and social media column on the Windmill Networking blog was inspired, in part, by this issue/sense of ageism. It will publish either tomorrow (Friday) or Monday and is called, Employee Byte: Insourcing Your Social PR.)
Kathy Pozzi • We absolutely should hire people at 45 and above, provided that they meet the requirements of the position. Perhaps as important as anything else, people in that (my) age bracket can serve as valuable mentors to younger employees. Plus it never hurts to have diversity of opinions and backgrounds, so that collectively we can reach a broader audience.
Tom McFarland • That’s what would make sense, and one would think that it would not be quantum leap in creative thinking to look at us that way. But when I was in my late 50s and out of work I applied for a departmental communications job about 3 pay grades below what I had been doing. In the cover letter I addressed the very thing you just pointed out. Can you imagine the value that a seasoned professional no longer on the career ladder could have as a practitioner and mentor? I’m afraid we are all wedged into a world of work in which the human resource textbooks were written in the 1950s. Tom McFarland Communications Director Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston 0
John-Manuel Andriote • It's ironic even to debate whether hiring folks over 45 is desirable given the fact that there aren't enough educated, experienced people coming up behind us to fill the huge gap in the workforce that will come with boomers' retirement.
Of course the notion of retirement itself is being redefined as people confront the need to keep working because of the enormous losses of the last few years in their savings and investments, including their homes. And as more of us live longer, fewer are going to settle for the old-fashioned idea of retirement at 65, playing golf for a bit, and then dropping dead a few years later. So the workforce will need to adapt to the greater age diversity we will see in it in the years ahead. 0
Sarah Chianese • Interesting, thoughtful "debate" going on here...aside from the whole law-suit issue and discrimination as a whole, my summation is a mixture of what I've read: Yes - merit based regardless of age matters most - best person for the job, indeed. Oftentimes, the best person for the job may very well need to be 45+ due to the sage, tempered, diplomatic and experienced tenor of many over age 45. There are plenty of us who are 45+ who do have the vitality of an 18 year old, as there are some 18 years olds who have incredible integrity, abilities and a hard-working ethic we seek in older employees. Of course, the possibilities are reverse - and those people, regardless of age is who we avoid engaging with professionally. Apathy in any workplace is the largest crime out there...so long as one is doing his/her job with passion, integrity, skill and in a courteous, bold and capable manner...Bravo! So - let the best man/woman for the job always prevail.
Marion Olsen • This just amazes me. I am 32 and as a manager, I can't imagine even having this thought, let alone discussion. I don't care if your 19 or 69, if you're right for the job, you're right for the job. It amazes me as a culture as a whole, how we seem to devalue age and wisdom, that is unless you're the most wise 25 year old on the planet, then you might have something going for you. We need to appreciate both young and old and also realize that age is simply a number and means very little about the person, their skills, their experience, their personality, and it certainly has nothing to do with their value. 2
David Baxter • I have experienced rejection because of my age. When I was 50 and my company went out of business from the after affects of 9/11 I applied for many jobs I was over qualified for and never even got a response. Luckly my current organization decided to call me in for an interview because I had so much media experience. My boss told me that if I was interested she would have been foolish not to at least talk with me. Our department now is more successful than at anytime in the organizations history. I'm forever in the my boss's debt. 1
JoeyUnfollow Follow Joey Joey Mooring • Interesting debate and i must say i agree with everyone's thinking, being in this demographic myself, i know i still have knowledge, talent and capability to offer. Glad i'm not alone. I join the cause with my other 45er's and then some on this debate... :)
JoeyUnfollow Follow Joey Joey Mooring • and by the way, to answer Steve's original question - ABSOLUTELY, I would hire someone 45 or older...
BethUnfollow Follow Beth
Beth Sisk • Tom, You say: "Many jobless individuals age 45 and older here have been out of work so long that the U.S. Department of Labor doesn't even count them in its monthly jobless numbers. They are among the 5.4 million nationwide that make up the "hidden" unemployed, that is, they are not receiving unemployment benefits anymore. They have stopped looking for work." That may be true. But there are many of us, who have exhausted our unemployment benefits by a year or two, who have rolled off the lists, but ARE still actively seeking employment. And no one is counting us. Every single job I have applied for, when I am lucky enough to get an interview...or two...or five, ends with being told that I am "overqualified". If I am willing to take a lower grade position at a lower salary, then why not accept the fact that I want that job? Most people my age are not job hoppers like the 20somethings tend to be. We are loyal, dedicated employees, not looking for the next best thing, and we require far less training.
KerriUnfollow Follow Kerri Kerri Glover • @Tom, you are dead on about what's happening in the USA, as well as the fact that it's not being openly discussed. I have many 50+ friends from communications and journalism who are no longer working and barely surviving. Many in journalism were bought out or took early retirement and most of the ones who stayed were laid off. And similar things have are happening in communications and PR. Most of them make money by consulting when they can are and aren't on the unemployment roster, so they're not counted and don't receive unemployment compensation. The situation in the US is dire, especially since this is affecting the boomer generation. I know very few people who can afford to retire and many who are still supporting their 20-something children, who also can't find jobs. @Marion, you have a reassuring attitude!
Kathryn Stokes • I find this whole conversation fascinating; especially since I will be participating on a panel discussion entitled "Generations in Government
Communications", at the National Association of Government Communicators annual Communications School in June. Our goal is to have representatives from at least four generations on the panel and it will be interesting to hear how each group views the topic. I represent...the over 45 crowd. 1
Paula Friedman • Good, Kathryn Stokes. And that should answer the one or two here who felt this conversation pointless. I'm not sure which four generations are meant (75-100? 0-25?), but some of us partaking here are over 60 and still very much at work. And, as Glenn Reschke and Stephanie Michaels and others here have noticed, this issue shouldn't even have to be discussed now--and yet, agism continuing and the economy declining further, must be.
BrendaUnfollow Follow Brenda Brenda Craine • I'm seeing lots of age bias both ways in this discussion. It has really opened my eyes. As someone in her 40s - I wouldn't say I know more than my younger or older colleagues. Each individual brings different things to the table especially in PR. There are such high expectations for us to know our industry, new technology, and all the various communications tools (which change constantly). I've learned a lot from my 20-something colleagues, and I'm inspired by them. I work hard to keep up with all the changes in our industry. Yes - various forms of social media are just tools - but there are older professionals who have no interest in them. That puts them at a disadvantage - and perhaps it adds to age bias. On the other hand, I see younger colleagues who don't have solid writing skills. Heck, I see younger colleagues who have not interest in social media. As many have said - we should hire based on the qualifications of the individual - not the age. Clearly, that's not always happening - and awareness is the first step toward improvement.
Ed Gruber • @Kathryn: June's just around the corner and all your research has been done right here. Plenty of ammo to present at your discussion. I'm sure we'd all be interested in the reactions. Keep us posted. To all: Bless you for your out-and-out rejection of any kind of employment discrimination, your passion, your dedication to the work ethic, your loyalty to the companies you serve, your open-mindedness, your years of toil, and to everything you brought to this exciting and highly pertinent discussion. To those of you on the front lines - keep punching; somewhere there are employers smart enough to employ the right person for the job. We thank you for reinforcing the values of not giving up. I am proud to be among you all - my fellow "experienced."
Stephanie Michaels • I am fascinated (and horrified) by the stories from US participants. I knew there was a difference between the Cdn and US economy but I had no idea the difference was so vast. @ Steven O (and possibly more of you), I belong to 3 other groups where I think you would also be able to discuss these issues. The are: Public Policy Network - MojaLink Generational Think Tank Multi-Generational Knowledge Transfer Strategies The Public Policy Network - MojaLink is the most active of these groups and the particpants are interested in things from a policy point of view -- which is where issues like ageism can be dealt with. The discussion puts me in mind of a dinner group I wanted to join after learning I have Celiac Disease (can't eat wheat, rye, barley or oats). I was told by the organizer of the dinner group that I couldn't join because the top age for participants was 35. She even suggested that I might not be comfortable -- what with all of the others being fun loving, hip and (probably) thinner. (My words, not hers.) I sent her a scathing response and then then asked her how many years she'd be
allowed to particpate in her group. I noticed the age-range just increased to 40. Ha ha ha ha! Time marches on. You gotta love it.
Brian Leehan • In the U.S. we "Boomers" are the demographic "cow passing through the anaconda" right now: this enormous, visible mound-'o-humanity. And if there's any truth to what we read regarding the overall quality of "youth" being turned-out by universities these days (education and work-ethic), then age discrimination is going to be moot pretty quickly. Once the economy actually turns around and employers need to hire, there aren't going to be enough youngsters - let alone qualified youngsters - to fill the need. Employers are going to have to start readjusting their "aesthetics," opting for experience, the ability to show-up on time, and to get the work done in an accurate and timely manner over trim figures, full heads of hair, and no crows-feet.
William Russell • Hire somebody over 45? What, and bring the average age of our companies down?I am amused at this discusssion. I am 65, involved in ownership and managenment of three start-up technology firms, and enjoying the hell out of it.
John Pilmer, APR • Go William! Go entrepreneurs. In addition to owning my own PR firm (www.PilmerPR.com) I teach entrepreneurship at the local university and serve
on a couple of boards serving this group. I see a lot of young entrepreneur wannabe's but very few young "advisers" to this group. Colonel Sanders, at age 65, his store having failed due to the new Interstate 75 reducing his restaurant's customer traffic, took $105 from his first Social Security check and began visiting potential franchisees, recipe in hand. The franchise approach was successful, and less than ten years later (in 1964) Sanders sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken corporation for $2 million to a partnership of Kentucky businessmen headed by John Y. Brown, Jr. (source: Wikipedia)
Janie Jordan-Meier • You go @Ed! As someone over 45 I say a BIG thank you. Ithink this is an important debate. I totaly agree with @Keith - a mix of millenials and we baby boomers is a powerful mix of talent. Love your comenst too @Arlene. I hope and plan to be working until my mid-70s and probaby longer! 0
SusanUnfollow Follow Susan Susan Towers • Keith, I'm sure more people would have commented if more people were reading this chat. Your examples are clearly in the minds of many employers. I also think the worst is the healthcare situation. U.S. companies don't want to hire older people simply because of the insurance premiums which are aged based. I believe baby-boomers in the United States who need to work, or who wish to work as we age would have a much better opportunity to follow our career dreams if there were a single payer!
ArethaUnfollow Follow Aretha Aretha Koursaris • This is utterly ridiculous! If we viewed the whole concept of ageing as not getting older but getting better this wouldn't even be up for discussion. My generation is breeding at a historically slower rate so there may not be the numbers to even fill jobs- so I suggest we keeop the 'oldies' nice because we'll need them! Having been around older, admirable people for most of my life and career I think they are an invaluable resource. Plus I know plenty of twenty and thirty somethings with 'short fuses' who like to take naps because they were partying the night before!!! If it's not yet clear I'm not in that over 45 demographic but I certainly don't 'suffer fools gladly' either :)
JosieannUnfollow Follow Josieann Josieann Richards • Let's move on to a real discussion shall we? 1
Kerri Glover • You're more than welcome to ignore it or move on, but it's clearly hit a nerve with a lot of people. It's very "real" for many of us. 2
Steven Oesterreich • There are about 170 comments here so far, this same topic in other groups has also created a lot of comments - especially within the IT Groups. Unfortunately, some people who choose to ignore this topic have not fully examined how ageism is occurring across a number of different fields. We have done a fair bit of research into this area, and at first I thought this would be an inconsequential topic, but was soon corrected with what was brought to me by my researchers. 4
Peter Hansen • Age should be irrelevant to any hiring decision. What is important is a person's competency to do the job. I would have thought in the 21st Century that this issue had long disappeared. It's especially irrelevant when western democracies have an aging population and we need people to work longer and continue to be productive members of society. 0
Kerri Glover • Unfortunately, most people don't become aware of age discrimination until they're closer to 50. You don't see anyone over 50 saying it doesn't exist. I think it's also more prevalent now because there are more of us and it's become clear that most of us won't be retiring at 65 due to the horrendous economy and cost of healthcare. @Steve, your research was on the money. We need another revolution. Public Relations and Communications Professionals 1
RobynUnfollow Follow Robyn Robyn Tolhurst • Steven, you have hit on a hot issue. While many of the comments are valid in terms of the knowledge and wisdom that comes with age, the reality is that the world and the workforce is changing exponentially, and the challenge from that is how to marry experience with demand and opportunity. Those of us who are over 45 need to consider how we can re-engineer our knowledge and wisdom and apply it to new careers. I believe that there is a use-by-date in the corporate life and like the Gen Y and Gen Z, we will have multiple jobs in our lifetimes and will need to find new careers into our 50s, 60s and beyond. Easier said than done, but sooner or later most of us will be faced with choices or situations we don't particularly like. My view is that it is better to act now, to identify our strengths and weaknesses, to network, upskill and do what is necessary to take the next step. In the meantime, The Financial Services Council in Australia released a report in January on the attitudes towards older workers which highlights that discrimination
exists and also looks at the supply and demand of workplace opportunities as we move towards 2050. Here's the link to the report: http://www.ifsa.com.au/downloads/file/ResearchReportsFile/2012_3001_olderworker s_report.pdf
Paula Friedman • @Robyn, this report from Australia is of interest, and thank you. I'm sure you didn't mean your comment to imply that, when older workers can't find employment in their field(s), it's their own fault for not having "reengineered" their knowledge, wisdom(?), and/or skill base; obviously, self-change cannot do much while discrimination exists. @ Susan Tower--a very important point indeed! Yes, ageindexed health insurance premiums obviously worsen age discrimination, and thus a single-payer (so-called Medicare for All) health coverage system such as one of those extant in other industrialized nations would go part of the way toward ending age discrimination.
A M J Gomes • I;m glad this topic has come up for debate and is being seriously reviewed. The recruitment door is subtly often closed for people closer to retirement. In fact is is amazing that younger people are sought after at senior positions for the dynamics they would probably bring to the work-place. But dynamics often do not bring about the desired expertise that only wisdom brings deliver upon. Wisdom comes with experience and delivers a high element of expertise. When a senior professional has been there and done that, he/ she can certainly gather collective widom and bring better reasoning to the table, There is also that stability element that an older person brings along, coupled with the mentoring factor. I think HR professionals need to be clued into this age-bias element, which also need review under Maslow's hierarchy of needs. for at that age, a professional would have reached the stage of self actualisation and is a highly valued asset,
Anita Ferraro • I confess I work better after 45. Can you imagine? :-)
Robyn Tolhurst • No it was not at all implied that older workers can't find work because they haven't reengineered their skills. I have no doubt that age discrimination exists. My point is that there is so much knowledge and experience amongst the 45s and overs and many of us have skills in addition to our core business focus areas which have been gained through life and work experiences. As the workplace is changing so rapidly thanks to technology, these skills are transferrable so rather than discriminate against older workers, why not identify how they can add value to a company and support it's strategy through their overall skill set. It would of course require a shift in the way companies, colleagues and recruiters think. Sent from my iPhone 0
Mathias Scheben • What a strange question. I am 66 of age, and I never would believe, that "best age" might be a problem. Packed with experience, me and my colleagues over 50 know the "short cuts". 2
JonathanUnfollow Follow Jonathan Jonathan Nason • Mathias, Early on in my career a mentor, called this 'wisdom'. Now, I am of an identical age, I use exactly the same expression. 2
MwadimehUnfollow Follow Mwadimeh Mwadimeh Wa'kesho • A friend and age mate of mine (fast approaching 1/2 Century, Vrooom!) told me how she was so distressed by the age policy at her international UN-aided organisation when she sat in a panel to recruit a communications officer. They were emphatic they wanted a 1986-born worker! Talk of an endangered species... 0
Mathias Scheben • The german word for this is "Altersweisheit", which could run in English as "Wisdom of Age". Best wishes across the channel! 0
JonathanUnfollow Follow Jonathan Jonathan Nason • Mathias, Delighted to reciprocate your good wishes. This is an interesting discussion that I have been a part of; though I might have missed that at 60+, we still have so much to offer. I think I am not alone in finding it difficult to put my pen down, though its now a key pad.
Mathias Scheben • Where do good communications come from? Brain and Heart. Instruments may fail, but not these human sources....:-) 0
Bob Aronson • I've seen the word "wisdom" used frequently here with regard to us older people. I believe you have achieved wisdom when you finally realize how very little you really know. As a youth I knew a lot, I had supreme confidence that I knew a lot, I was certain about a whole host of things. As I grew older I realized that I knew less and less. Finally, at age 73 and still working with clients, I realize I know almost nothing for certain which makes me work twice as hard to be sure I'm offering the best possible advice. As I've said for years, "The more I learn the more I realize how little I know."
Mathias Scheben • Absolutely right!
Roger Marino • It's Wisdom, Passion, Compassion, Energy and Enthusiasm that separate a professional from a job-seeker. Without those ingredients retirement at any age is an unemployment reality. 0
Judy Gombita • Josieann Richards, you realize you can opt to be removed from the comments stream, right? That is, if you are bored with the discussion. 2
David Rosen • Josieann is correct. Time to move on. The tremendous volume and repetitive nature of the posts is staggering, especially since we call agree that bias exists and it's wrong. The discussion serves no useful purpose at this point and, I would argue, does more harm than good. It's almost pathological. 0
Deborah D Russell • @David: You and I agree to disagree. However, if you feel "The discussion serves no useful purpose at this point and, I would argue, does more harm than good. It's almost pathological," remove yourself from receiving new comments from this thread. Sure, the posts are staggering and repetitive, but allow the members to "voice" their concerns, anger and perhaps, solutions. No one is forced to receive, read or participate in this discussion. If someone is bored or thinks this discussion serves no purpose, the person can easily stop following the conversation and move on to another discussion in which s/he feels is useful. Otherwise, allow the other participants to state their opinion.
Tom McFarland • Then move on, David. No one is holding gun to your head to tune in to this. The comments here are hardly a scratch on the surface of the building resentment out there about what is going on. The only danger in a discussion like this would be that it veers into an old vs. young, us vs. them thing, which is something one has to avoid. While hardly pathological, the discussion is revealing what a hot button this is. We can go around in circles all day on this, but that won’t solve anything. This is political, my friend. Pure and simple. All of us who are resentful are mad at the wrong people. If the economy had gone according to plan, and untrammeled capitalism hadn’t held sway, many of the nearly 80 million baby boomers among us who could afford to retire would be by now. This historic shift would have created enough demand in the workplace for new hires that employers wouldn’t have the luxury of discriminating because only 48 million Gen X workers were coming up the line to replace them. The solution it seems to me is political. And what demographic in the US has changed American society from the time they began over-crowding hospital nurseries after WW II. Remember the 60s? The anti-war movement? This same political force could be unleashed in November if for no other reason than to give hope to the long-term unemployed among us. The right is holding them hostage and is only too willing to walk away from them. Tom McFarland Communications Director Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston 4
TerriUnfollow Follow Terri Terri Johnson, ABC, APR, ABD • And to think this debate is a response to an invitation to attend a debate! 187 comments later..... Original post:
As part of our upcoming forum on Workplace Diversity we have included an interactive debate just on this topic. The debaters will each put forward their arguments about age discrimination in the Australian workplace, and then the floor will be opened to questions from the audience. Facilitated by: Ruzika Soldo, People and Culture Manager, University of New South Wales Debbie Sonin, Managing Director, D.K. Sonin & Associates and Heidi Holmes, Managing Director, Adage.com.au will take part in this debate. Also hear about: * Building diversity requirements into the recruitment process * Creating an inclusive and harmonious organisational culture * Making the business case for diversity and flexibility Workplace Diversity in Australia Where the bloody hell are we? * May 2012 Sebel Surry Hills, Sydney http://www.arkgroupaustralia.com.au/EventsE011WorkplaceDiversityinAustralia.htm Hear from our expert panel of speakers from: * University of New South Wales * Railcorp * WDS Limited * University of Western Australia * Clayton Utz * D.K. Sonin & Associates * Adage.com.au * Corrs Chambers Westgarth * People + Culture Strategies * Disability Employment Australia Official Linked In Group: Diversity Asia Pacific Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=3516810 8 days ago 0
Kerri Glover • @Tom, amen!! The sheer volume of posts and people over 45 who are experiencing age discrimination and problems finding viable work answers @Steve's original question. Hopefully, it will provide evidence to him and the woman
participating in the U.S. government forum that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. If the biggest segment of the U.S. population is unemployed or underemployed and can't afford to retire, how is the economy ever going to recover? Those of you who don't get it are either too young or haven't experienced it yet. I hope you don't, but you most certainly will if we don't find a way to solve these problems now.
Rebecca L. Voss, Msc • I'm not 45 yet, but I see - and hope others see - that this topic is symbolic of a host of hiring challenges and questionable practices that many of us are facing or will face at some point .. not to mention the front- and back-end organizational and individual ramifications that result as Kerri just noted. I've gained a tremendous amounts of wisdom, ideas, renewed compassion levels from everyone's thoughts ... not to mention lessons that I'll be carrying forward.
William M Canter • I am in agreement with both Jonathon and Mathias however what I hear on an all too frequent basis is that I am "too experienced" and "too senior" normally followed with some rendition of "too expensive" - all before I even open my mouth regarding the latter nor have an opportunity to dispel the illusion of the former. How a 20-30 something can have that insight is beyond my comprehension...and out of my control. Re-tooling a CV to only reflect the last 10-15 years does my career a disservice and my multi-page/multi-entry CV scares them...
William Russell • @William - The "too expensive" is always of interest to me as a business owner. "Too expensive" as compared to what. Is there a cost benefit analysis
or just a cost analysis? If your broader and deeper experience can bring me in greater revenue or less revenue but a greater net or lessen my expenses and I'm ignoring those factors, maybe I need to rethink how I am running my business or who my HR people are.
Roger Marino • @William: Correct. In the end it's all about bottom line results. My opinion is that PR hirees during the first five years after college are apprentices. Therefore the pay is commensurate with that rating. Thus allowing a budget adjustment to financially compensate the senior mentors whose charge it is to educate as they produce.
David Rosen • My thanks to Tom McFarland for interjecting a new, informed and thought-provoking analysis into this discussion. By the way Tom, there there's more than tad of old versus young bashing in this thread, which is unfortunate and unproductive because we're all in this mess together. Your comments point toward action -- the ballot box or, perhaps, "Occupy Madison Avenue," or the PR equivalent if there is one. So thanks again for elevating the conversation. I'll stay tune in for a while. 1
Tom McFarland • Glad you decided to hang around. Absolutely no one is talking about this in the political arena. Long term unemployment is like a plague. For an old PR hack like me, that’s a hook made in Heaven.
Go to this link to see what a guy in Connecticut is doing about it. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57380880/a-new-jobs-program-forpeople-trapped-in-unemployment/?tag=stack <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57380880/a-new-jobs-program-forpeople-trapped-in-unemployment/?tag=stack>
Quite innovative. He’s found a way for capitalism to clean up its own mess. Tom McFarland Communications Director Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston
DavidUnfollow Follow David David Rosen • @Deborah, Yes, we're free to sign off. But I assume we're also free to say enough is enough when we think a thread has run its course. Sure people are free to continue posting. I never suggested otherwise. But part of our jobs as communication professionals is to facilitate and moderate conversations and end them when they become entirely repetitive and serve no useful information or education purpose. And we are free, are we not, to suggest that a conversation at some point
does more harm than good. You may not like that suggestion, but I assume I'm free to offer it, and I suspect that many others agree but are afraid to say so. 0
StephanieUnfollow Follow Stephanie Stephanie Michaels • @David -- I guess it depends on who is judging when things have become repetitive. We are all waaaay off the original request. I wonder if the originator is even following anymore. But that doesn't matter. Clearly this is a topic that has struck a nerve for many. I kind of hope that some form of anti-agism movement is in order. Maybe it's even brewing between like-minded individuals from this group. But seriously, David, my understanding of social media is that people keep going until they all just drift away. You seem to be at the stage where you simply don't want to continue to follow this conversation. Others may have already left. But for those who want a forum for discussing, complaining or just plain railing against the universe, who are we to stop them? You can't blame us for being so unruly that we don't all stop talking just because someone points out that the conversation is now redundant. Even if you can, what harm does it do? I don't know that people would be "afraid" to say when enough is enough for them. What on earth is there to be afraid of? The reader here holds absolute power. Follow or not. Delete or not. But this is clearly a sore point for many professional communicators who feel they might still have something to add. Maybe we should all be speaking up. Everywhere. To anyone. Whenever. That's the real beauty of this medium. 2
Deborah DUnfollow Follow Deborah D Deborah D Russell • @Stephanie: You took the words out of my mouth...well put. 1
David Rosen • Debora, we're never going to agree on this. I suspect more people are listening in on the conversation than participating. What must our biased younger brethren think of us and by us I mean seniors? We are reinforcing their misguided viewsthat they want nothing to do with the likes of people who say the same things over and over, threaten ill-conceived class lawsuits, compare their plight to that of African Americans during the Civil Rights movement, and discuss ways to dye their hair and hide their age by leaving out experience in their resumes. That's the harm in this conversation when it drones on endlessly. I suspect that people who think it's enough already don't speak up because they don't want to be publicly chastised by the group for suggested that the conversation end. Some quotes from the thread: “I wonder if this person/these persons felt the same about black protestors during the Civil Rights movement.” “I know plenty of twenty and thirty somethings with 'short fuses' who like to take naps because they were partying the night before!!! If it's not yet clear I'm not in that over 45 demographic but I certainly don't 'suffer fools gladly' either.” “Another friend told me he was interviewing for three years and only got his job when he colored his hair before his interview. How sad is that?”
“Most of us 45+ realize that we're not too old to learn. Especially how much Dulcolax to take each morning.”
“…I cannot say what chances a class action suit of the type some here have discussed would have. But it seems appropriate.” “The truth is that us older people, I am 60, have ideas about Social Media, they just do not fit into the mainstream of what everyone is doing, thus there is no uniqueness that can be utilized for the benefit of the client.” “They also indicate that the organization is managed by idiots, bureaucratic, and deserves to go bankrupt. But then again I run my own shop here in Japan.” 1
Bob Aronson • At 73, if not the oldest I'm probably one of the oldest people on this string who is still practicing our profession so I beg to be allowed some elderly pontification. Some, here think this is a foolish, harmful and repetetive discussion about an issue already settled by law. Well, laws are only useful if they have the desired effect. That hasn't happened. Age discrimination still exists and it scares a lot of people who fear being unemployed in a bad economy that has not allowed them to properly prepare for a secure retirement whether early or later. This discussion has been called harmful, too. Harmful? Have you not noticed the humor here, the charm, the fun of people over 45 making fun of themselves and each other? Many have exposed themselves and their fears. They deserve to be taken seriously. If there have been so many comments disparaging of youth why aren't we hearing a torrent of complaints from our youthful colleagues? This is an important issue to a lot of people or it would have ended days ago. I don't think there is one of us that doesn't appreciate or actually envy young professionals. It is wonderful to watch those just entering the field with their eternal optimism, spirit of adventure, boundless energy and a creativity born of a total lack of paradigms. We would be lost without them. We need each other. We need all the diversity we can get and we are clearly seeing that in this string of comments. The social media have expanded our horizons and the opportunity to talk about anything we want to discuss at any time. There are hundreds of thousands of discussions taking place 24/7/365 all over LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Why is it so important that this discussion stop?. To this old guy that's pretty myopic. If you don't like the way the lane tilts on this alley, move over a few and bowl elsewhere. Or...stay herre and join in but don't tell these good people they can't discuss something that's important to them. In a free society we have plenty of opportunity to express ourselves and a number of forums in which to do so. My point is simple -- let's just respect the opinions of others and let them talk. Eventually the subject will change. I appreciate all of the comments and better yet, I appreciate being allowed to express myself. Thanks everyone.
Elisha Sutherland • Surely there is nothing to debate. Over 45? Please. I intend to live to 100 so 45 is not even half way there! Older people have much to offer and I enjoy their wisdom, experience and sage advice. We need to work with others from all works of life, and there is definite strength and business enhancement to be gained by embracing diversity.
Ed Gruber • @Bob Aronson: You just proved that the combination of youth and experience can't be beat. Obviously, because you are younger (by 11 years) and quicker, it was your youth that beat me to the punch, combined with your experience that expressed a message I was forming while lying in bed at 6:00 a.m. this morning. . And well-written, too. Further proof of the need for age diversity on company teams. Damn. People don't usually beat me to the punch. I'll have to double up on my vitamins and rise an hour earlier.
James M. Schaffer • My heavens, Bob, you know how to write and your words are as fresh as mountain air. Thank you. I've been passively reading this string, was tempted to chime when I read the good humor that Keith injected, and can well understand the tension being expressed here. We each come to this issue with our own story informing it, whether "young" or "old." We are each situated on some vaguely defined continuum of "success" and I would guess that most of us here because we are still striving (thankfully) toward some equally vague personal goal. I belong to this and several other PR related LinkedIn groups and I cannot recall ever seeing any of the elites in our field commenting. I belong to a group in my primary field, philanthropy, in which most of the members are elites (not me), and the group leader occasionally sends around a survey asking what would would inspire discussion, any discussion. Silence. The elites are content in their fiercely protected (at what cost?) "careers" and the rest of us carry on. What career field respects age today, let alone advanced age? Academia, maybe? The pulpit? In my career in major gift fundraising CEO's used to
be the powers to be reckoned with. Then beginning in the late 1990's the money and power shifted gradually to the younger set swirling around new technologies and those who managed them (the consultants and investment bankers). Today, the speculators (hedge funds) are the prime movers, and I relate regularly with several in the Forbes 50 range. I often wonder what the CEO's I used to fly around the world with in the 1980's would make of the titans today who are sometimes younger than their children were at the time and personally more wealthy than many times the value of their former colossal corporations. It feels to me like age discrimination is more rampant today than before the laws were enacted to prevent it. It's just that the laws prevent the Mad Men from reveling it their bad behavior; whether consciously or unconsciously "jobs" are for the young. The challenge for us seniors on LinkedIn is to learn, contribute to those young persons among us wise enough to ask for our advice, and to more or less make our own way, which is what we are wont to do anyway. Being on LinkedIn to be "found" by the robotic resume scanners is wishful thinking for the older set. That's why I chose on my profile to list even my high school and what I did in high school, to humorously revel in my age -- and to remove all indications of being available for a job or even a "business opportunity." I am old enough to know that all of that comes by way of relationships. I am here to learn what my peers and young alike are up to and for the occasional entertainment and good readings from the likes of Keith and Bob.
JosephUnfollow Follow Joseph Joseph Yantis • I too agree with Bob. I too am 73 and still practicing PR ... although I moved out of an office and into a spare bedroom at home. It helped reduce cost and allow me to weather the economic storm of the past six years. I started my business at the age of 51 when downsized from a corporate employer because it became obvious that someone that age would not find another job...If you a job, then you have got to make one and that means staying on top of issues, technologies and client wants/needs and expectations. During this time, the opportunity to teach presented itself so I accepted a a visiting professorship and later a second university offered an adjunct professorship. It was a great eye opener to observe these young people as they prepared and then entered the profession...Yes, I still believe that hiring people over 45 is a great investment and the returns will prove it.
Judy Gombita • I am writing the 205 comment (my third one) in a Group that currently has 66,379 members. So what if there is repetition? The beauty of social media and LinkedIn Groups is that anyone can participate in a conversation, as much as she or he wants. I'm not fond of gatekeepers. Glenn Allan • Absolutely, I would hire someone over 45. I don't have to train them, the experience and maturity is already established. In my line of work it's a bonus.
Meg Waters • As someone who is well within that demographic I agree that more experienced employees can be a tremendous asset to any organization, however, I just had an experience that gave me pause. I am helping a local public agency hire a Public Information officer, and recently interviewed 8 candidates. Five had 20 years experience, 3 had less than 10 years. I have to say the older more experienced candidates really fell short during the interviews -- and I was probably more sympathetic to them because we are contemporaries.For instance, the older candidates discounted social media for the most part, one even claiming it was not effective. They came across as out of touch with the changing world of communications -- not a good thing if you're interviewing to be a communications officer. They did not appear to be receptive to new ideas.The younger candidates not only understood and used all the media tools available, they also came across as much more energetic and enthusiastic. Instead of showing enthusiasm, the more senior candidates came across as -- been there done that-- perhaps they were trying to showcase their years of experience but it came across as though the job they were applying for might be boring or beneath them,So, my advice to more senior job seekers is to be sure you're up to date on the latest trends and technologies--even if you don't personally use them. Know how they can fit in a strategy. Stay away from showing work samples that are more than 10 years old unless it is something of once-in-a-lifetime/career importance. And be proud of your experience, while maintaining your enthusiasm for the new challenge.
TerriUnfollow Follow Terri Terri Johnson, ABC, APR, ABD • Meg: That's great advice for any age! Good post.
Peter ADAMS • At my last workplace, a government agency Comms unit; two of my colleagues were aged 48 & 60. They were brilliant! Great operators and good friends. I'm now managing a media unit for a major department and am on the hunt for a 2IC. Anyone over 45 will definitely be in the hunt.
SusanUnfollow Follow Susan Susan Towers • On social media - I definitely agree that those over 55 who don't think social media is important are setting themselves up for future career failure. It is an essential communication wave in our tool boxes. I took a legal issues course at the University of the Sciences for my master's in biomedical writing. We actually did class discussions on Twitter. It was amazing. We were discussing FDA regulations, clinical trial issues and ended up drawing people into the discussion that were not part of our class - talk about a networking opportunity. I don't think we have even begun to realize the business benefits of Twitter. I am, by the way, 'over 55,' and finding that using Facebook and Twitter for part of my role as a public relations specialist in a corporation is exposing my organization to so many more contacts than I would have imagined. It's like when people scoffed at phones being small enough to fit in our pockets and that every home would have a personal computer. Life is continually evolving and we have to hang on for the ride. 2
DickUnfollow Follow Dick Dick Pirozzolo, APR • Whoever perpetuates the myth PR pros over 45 don't *get* Social Media ought to have their pencil box taken away. 2
BobUnfollow Follow Bob Bob Aronson • I agree. I love the social media and administer two Facebook groups, have posted 115 blogs on Wordpress, have 760 contacts on LinkedIn and use YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest regularly. Great tools. Not only that but I love technology and have the newest Asus Eee pad, an Optima double deck of cards size projector, an Android Phone and a navigation system for my truck. What the hell makes anyone think we don't get it. I love this techological age we live in and regret that I won't live long enough to see where it's all headed.
SusanUnfollow Follow Susan Susan Towers • Dick - I really like the 'pencil box' image! You make me laugh. Ben Joseph • I am 39, and I am having a lot of trouble finding work in my field. When you add up how long I have worked, most people can figure out your age. I feel like in southern California it's over 35 that's the problem. Keith, I don't think it's a question of old and feeble, I think it's just younger and cheaper. As long as companies continue to squeeze every penny out of a company, and I just left one of the most profitable TV Networks out there, the companies wii always take younger and cheaper then older and wiser. Just my two cents. Craig Lancto • I agree with Ben. I am over 60 and--so far as I know--in excellent health. I introduced social media at my previous organization and mentored two 20-somethings. When I was replaced by an inexperienced 25-year-old, fresh from graduate school, one of the organization's officers remarked that I should be proud that I had trained them so well that they would be able to train my replacement. Lennea Durant • When I first started working and well into my first decade of employment, I looked to the "veterans" for insight and knowledge. I continue to learn from those that have gone before me and those that are coming up behind me. We are beginning to buy our own hype about youth, and it's not working so well. Also, many 45+ are still paying/help paying off the post-secondary education that's putting the youth into the workforce. At some point the fires burning at each end of that wick are going to meet. Economically, there has to be a balance.
Helen Slater • Dick, Bob, I agree. I am always intrigued by the assumption that 'older' people don't or won't 'get' that there new fangled stuff like the interweb. Seriously, I did attend a job interview once a few years back (I didn't get the role) where the interviewer asked about my technological experience. I had developed several websites for client organisations, ran my own website, and was involved in introducing the then fledgling social media to clients. Later, on asking why I didn't get the role, the recruiter said the reason given was that I didn't have the knowledge to maintaining their website and keep up with technology. Of course, that was the excuse, not the reason. Meg, your experience in hiring for a public information officer is surprising, but clearly there are luddites out there who spoil it for the rest, contributing to the myths around age.
Steven - would the conference organisers stream the debate live? Excellent that Australia is doing this conference, and will be interested to see if any initiatives come out of it. My thought is - while we already have laws regarding age discrimination, there are always ways around them, as per my, and others', experience. When will the recruitment industry and business agencies such as Chambers of Commerce etc bring in 'best practice' and training to assist in changing this mindset? It is only when there is a general acceptance that it's the ability to do the job, not the age (or race, or gender) that determines who gets the role, that everyone will come out winners, including the business sector. DavidUnfollow Follow David David Gwyer • Staff over the age of 45 can bring many benefits to an office, not least coaching/mentoring of more junior members of a team. It’s also good for offices to have a wide range of ages, gender and experience.
Bob Aronson • Much to my surprise there are a few of us here that are in our 70's and older. I think it's a forgone conclusion amongst this group that you'd all hire someone over 45 if they were qualified for the job. What about us really old folks, though? Would you hire anyone in their 70's or even 80's? I retired 5 years ago to get a heart transplant, now I'm good as new and back in business. That's the wave of the future..People will live longer and be healthier, so now the question is expanded from 45 to maybe 85? Or is the question to absurd to be considered? 1
Gail Dickson • Arlene and Keith are both right. Older workers have been "around the block" and bring years of hard-earned knowledge and life experience with which no amount of postgraduate education can compete. James M.Unfollow Follow James M. James M. Schaffer • Let's hope you are correct, Bob. I will likely never be able to not work, health permitting, if only to pay down the debt of having two beautiful children in private out of state colleges! Retirement never was an option anyway. I took a number of 90-degree turns in my "career" early on in my refusal to live and work for some future payday. Mine has been a journey of faith to serve the needs of the poor; to consider the needs of some future retirement anywhere along that rich trajectory would have been a distraction. At least for me, one does not retire from a calling.
Tom McFarland • So we all agree, it appears, on the merits of our resumes. As encouraging all of that is to our fellow practitioners, as well as to workers in every other field out there, the discussion now should turn to how to translate all of this into political action. Or better yet: How do you think a consumer backlash would work if everyone age 45 and older refused to buy the products or invest in the stocks of companies sitting on hoards of domestic and non-repatriated cash (some estimates have this in the several trillions)? Many are reporting record earnings and yet they are refusing to invest in workforce development while their employees are doing the jobs of three people. This generation boycotted everything from Nestles Quick to investment in South Africa in our day. What’s the difference between sending us off to Vietnam en masse and relegating us to some aging worker scrap heap? Accept it or not, there is a death toll to all of this.
Tom McFarland Communications Director Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston
WilliamUnfollow Follow William William Russell • @Tom McFarland - Your political agenda has nothing to do with the subject of this discussion. Terms like "non-repatriated cash" are nonsense. Statements like "this generation boycotted everything ----" are meaningless gibberish. This generation, I presume you mean over 45, is not monolithic and never shared a common political agenda. What many of us over 45 share is a realization that generalizations are self-defeating Bob Aronson • Tom does make a point, though. We've discussed the problem a great deal. What's the solution...do we even have one .. or isn't the problem clearly enough defined. I think one hard fact has emerged clearly in this discussion and that is in the drive to be profitable companies will always cut costs. Employees represent a signficant cost so, while perhaps conterproductive, companies will hire younger, less experienced workers who will work for less in money, benefits ... everything. That's just a reality of business. Does it smack of discrimination...maybe. I don't think they say, "He's too old," They say, "Who will work hardest for the least amount of money." Additionally many of them think that if the going gets really tough they can hire a consultant for a brief period which is still cheaper than hiring the more expensive full-time employee. In a nutshell that is a business reality. So...what's the solution folks. No sense in beating problems to death if we can't offer solutions.
Tom McFarland • Thank you, Bob. Well put. Tom McFarland • And thanks to William for giving me the incentive I needed to get out of this discussion. Craig Lancto • Would it make sense for us to launch a campaign of blogs and op-eds about the advantages of hiring more mature workers?
In a message dated 4/30/2012 9:09:44 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
DavidUnfollow Follow David David Fuller • I didn't react negatively, Keith, because I can well imagine those conversations happening behind closed doors. That is the problem with ageism, you can't see it or hear it, but you sure can smell it. Unfortunately, the courts are impaired when it comes to the olfactory nerve.
StefUnfollow Follow Stef Stef Van De Gehuchte • 'Ageing' and 'smell' pretty much in the same sentence... That's age discrimination! ;-) Ed Gruber • How can we get editors of Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, and other major (and even minor) business publications and key newspapers to read these posts? Might stir up some editorial reactions. One or more of the PR professionals here should know.
JudyUnfollow Follow Judy
Judy Gombita • I've posted this as a separate discussion a few minutes ago, but wanted to target people following this conversation because I alluded to this late last week (in my first comment). I had not read or participated in this almost-two-weeks-old (200+ comments) discussion before writing this PR and social media column, but the question of "ageism" in the workforce has been bothering me for quite some time, based on discussion with older Gen X and Boomer colleagues over the past year. As I said earlier, I think a business deciding to go "social" has exacerbated the problem. My monthly column on Windmill Networking (which is on public relations and social media) published today:
Tom McFarland • How about the PR and advertising trades. Not involved in PRSA. Does it have a newsletter? Might stir things up a bit among agency proprietors. Tom McFarland Communications Director
DavidUnfollow Follow David David Rosen • Before we run off to promote a story with the Times and others, may I suggest that we look for some data concerning distribution of age groups in public relations and recent hiring data. I'm not aware aware of any such data, but it's worth looking for some. It would also help to find a genuine expert on this issue from outside our ranks -- for example a labor economist or HR consultant with knowledge of our industry. Surely PR and marketing folks are not the only ones facing age bias in hiring for whatever reason. While there may be some aspects of our situation that we think are unique (for example perceived social media and technology deficiencies), we are almost certainly part of a broader mosaic, one that includes a messed up national and global economy, as Tom McFarland notes. 10 hours ago • Unlike • Like
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JohnUnfollow Follow John John Pilmer, APR • Does this discussion remind anyone of the movie Soylent Green? If hiring managers look at the aging population like an actuarial risk assessment, at some point when the value vs output lines crosson some graph, then the aging population is shuffled off to their corner. If we remember that we all have inherent value, and something to contribute, then the wisdom, if not energy, of the silver generation remains in demand. 9 hours ago • Unlike • Like
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StephanieUnfollow Follow Stephanie Stephanie Michaels • @David I suspect this is what prompted the good people of Australia to host a debate on the topic. I agree that we need to back up the discussion with some stats -- anecdotal evidence is clear, but to be persuasive, we need to present information in the same way we would approach any other information campaign. I want to say that I'll check out the Conference Board of Canada and StatsCan on this topic. However, I'm caught between 3 major projects and don't know when I'd be able to. I will, though -- unless someone beats me to the punch. I'd also like to learn how it is for younger people who can't get work (or maybe just full employment with benefits) because they lack experience. I bet the two groups have a lot in common, even though they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. As I've said before -- age happens. The alternative sucks (and doesn't pay well). I
want to be around when those people who think we are all past our prime are past theirs. Bwa ha ha ha ha ... 9 hours ago • Unlike • Like
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JosephUnfollow Follow Joseph Joseph Yantis • David: Has anyone talked with PRSA or IABC with respect to demographics? 9 hours ago • Unlike • Like
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JonathanUnfollow Follow Jonathan Jonathan Nason • Has anyone touched on the changing dynamic that those above 45 will be needed to fill key roles? I am thinking about the lack of writing, presentation skills which are currently hidden by Social Media. Any thoughts? This might influence politicians of all colours more than they currently believe. Plus employers. There's more to adopting high tech solutions than many want to believe and linked with that, there's just too much short-termism. 8 hours ago • Unlike • Like
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Thomas Crehan: Raising The Bar in Global Communication started a discussion: What Recruiters Look At During The 6 Seconds They Spend On Your Resume
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Judy Gombita commented in the group on Spin-off from the "Over 45" debate: What ancillary skills are crucial for PR pros today?: My PR Conversations co-editor/colleague, Heather Yaxley, is currently researching and studying towards a PhD in careers options in public...
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Jason Kaut likes this comment by Denise Ridenour No comment? We've all been taught to avoid saying that in media situations. What are the best substitutes for “no comment” that you’ve...: All good tactics, but favor the last post. Bridging is an excellent technique and avoids the pitfalls of "no comment"
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