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Mariane Maffeo

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How can we help companies hire more people over the age of 50?

Age discrimination, while illegal, is very much practiced in the United States. Companies appear to believe that younger workers are more productive because they use technology more effectively. I believe that a person's age does not determine whether or not they are technologically literate. Among all age groups, there are early adopters of technology and there are people who are averse to technology. We need to help corporations harness the experience of older workers while still encouraging all workers to become more technologically literate.

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  • Nov 22 2012: Older people know how to do things when technology breaks down and are not afraid to ask if what is being done is the right thing to do. Technology seems to spawn schools of inflated intellectual lemmings that are lost when the power goes out. I wonder how many folks are out there right now that would call AAA and wait at a rest stop if the batteries to their GPS go out? Not sure my kids even know you can change the channel on a TV without a remote!
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    Nov 23 2012: I really like your third idea. It sounds like a very effective solution. However, a startup company may not have the resources to provide the salaries and perks that older workers need, such as health insurance and retirement plans. But it is worth a thought...
  • Nov 22 2012: It is just a financial matter-young adults are cheaper in any aspect, and most jobs just need people who do what they are told, nothing more.

    Also, you mentioned that you know lots of young people who ask you for help in computer things. These kind of people existed in all decades, so you gonna find this type of person (they get older you know) in every group of age and they would ask for your help too. As you said it yourself, age does not matter, but sadly also when it comes about the negative aspects.

    You can't help companies to hire people, you just can force them. This happens either by nature, because of less births so the companies need to hire what is there. Or by force of the state, through nonsense like workfare or a war that needs any manpower aviable.

    The third option is, open your own company, hire only old people and be more effective and sucessfull than all your opponents. This will have the effect that any second or third class company founder will believe it has to be done that way to run a business, and they all gonna hire old people, cause that is "how its done nowadays".
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    Nov 22 2012: My question wasn't specifically about me because I am self-employed, but I know that there are a lot of older workers that cannot find jobs because companies have a predisposition against hiring older workers. One reason is because of health concerns and the cost of insurance, as insurance companies charge more for employees over the age of 40 and even more for women over the age of 40, although men get cancer and other expensive diseases at nearly three times the rate of women. One reason that has been cited for charging more for women than men is maternity, which is pretty rare in women over 40, so I'm not sure why that is cited. Anyway, just questions to consider if one is interested in creating a more just and equitable society.
    • Nov 22 2012: Women take sick leave significantly more often than men, whether they're of child bearing age or not, there's also the issue of older women being less well educated than older men (and older people being less educated, or having outdated skills, than young people) because they grew up in a different time. Like I said below, I suspect most of this "age discrimination" has to do with benefits (and in the US health care costs) reserved for older employees and outdated skill sets among older people.
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    Nov 22 2012: Mariane, As you have not told us where you are from we acan only answer from our perspective and not address your gepgraphical area.

    Your question is very broad so I am going to narrow it down considerably. First, there are some jobs that are more directed to the younger generation. Some corporations use the "young image" to sell their product. Remember the hippies used to say never trust anyone over 30 ... well marketing directs ads to specific groups. My point is that if it is a young persons game don't try to play it.

    Say you run a company and need a machinist ... like yesterday ... You have a 25 year old who went to tech school and has a few hours of educational experience ... and the other candidate is a 50 year old who has 30 years experience with the same equipment your plant has. Not a tough decision. One can start today and be productive immediately .... the other will take training (if there is someone to train him) and may or may not work out and production will suffer until he is up to speed if ever.

    So the point is .. if your 50 then look for a match ... if you have the skills and talents they are looking for and you can make a immediate difference then you will get the job or at least be considered with others who met the same criteria.

    Don' have the attitude that they should do you a favor ... demonstrate that you are doing them a service that will be to their benefit.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Nov 20 2012: John: I'm not sure that it is an "either/or" proposition. If companies only hire people under the age of 40, they are missing a key component to success: diversity. Also, I don't believe that it is "a fact that older employees are less likely to be proficient at IT than younger employees." Where do you get your information for that assertion? In my experience, age has no effect whatsoever as to whether people are tech-savvy or not. For instance, my college-age daughter constantly asks me for help with her computer, software, network configurations, etc. In the workplace, I have met many young people who do not know how to use technology effectively, especially advanced software like Visio, Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.
    • Nov 20 2012: "John: I'm not sure that it is an "either/or" proposition."

      Why not? Two people can't have the same job and with the way automation is charging ahead no amount of economic growth is going to create lots and lots of jobs (in fact it will probably lead to more automation), unless we basically cut a few hours off the workweek which would be wonderful for everybody, except that the whole world has to join in to prevent a massive wave of outsourcing.

      "In my experience, age has no effect whatsoever as to whether people are tech-savvy or not. For instance,"

      And I had a grandpa who smoked his whole life and lived to be 95 (well, not really, but I hope you see where I'm going with this).

      "If companies only hire people under the age of 40, they are missing a key component to success: diversity."

      Which is why they still hire people over 40, they just hire less of them than they do people under 40.
  • Nov 20 2012: sometime pain can be a greater motivator than rewards.
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    Nov 20 2012: A country is not a company. And I have never heard of a company that has "lots of perks" for older workers.
  • Nov 19 2012: "How can we help companies hire more people over the age of 50?"

    It depends a lot on where you live: many countries have all kinds of perks and benefits for older employees, not available to younger employees, which is why companies prefer hiring younger workers. Even so, it's just a fact that older employees are less likely to be profficent at IT than younger employees.

    In the end though, does society gain anything when unemployment shifts from old people to young people, or vice versa?