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Thoughts on unemployment and age
Old 03-20-2012, 05:10 PM   #1
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Thoughts on unemployment and age

Had lunch with a good friend over the weekend. She has her own business, specialized professional recruiting, and when we get together she always has insights into the economy and hiring in certain business segments. One thing she has helped me understand in the past was how companies practice age based hiring. This get together was to catch up and we only spent a few minutes talking business but one thing she said is that age discrimination is getting worse, businesses that are hiring have lowered the age threshold and now are not hiring people past their early 40’s. Also surprising was the reason – I suggested health care costs, but her view is those extra costs don’t make that much of a difference, and employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.

Ours is a tough economy and, if this is true and widespread, older unemployed people are in for a long, hard time. All the more reason to start saving early.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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It's hard for people of any age to get a job these days and that is a terrible thing. When an applicant has even one strike against him/her, such as age, it is pretty hard to overcome.

It's hard for older people to work 60 to 80+ hours, but my dear friend F. was doing this regularly in his mid-50's. The overtime helped him to retire, but it was hard on his health. He is tough and did it anyway. He is doing a lot better now that we are retired, de-stressed, and going to the gym three times a week.

I'll tell you what - - I won't compete with people of any age for the jobs that may come up from here on out.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Had lunch with a good friend over the weekend. She has her own business, specialized professional recruiting, and when we get together she always has insights into the economy and hiring in certain business segments. One thing she has helped me understand in the past was how companies practice age based hiring. This get together was to catch up and we only spent a few minutes talking business but one thing she said is that age discrimination is getting worse, businesses that are hiring have lowered the age threshold and now are not hiring people past their early 40’s. Also surprising was the reason – I suggested health care costs, but her view is those extra costs don’t make that much of a difference, and employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.

Ours is a tough economy and, if this is true and widespread, older unemployed people are in for a long, hard time. All the more reason to start saving early.
This seems very believable to me. I think there's been a change in young workers attitudes. Many grew up in a time of low unemployment, and expected to find good jobs.
Now, a few years into the Great Recession, they're rapidly adjusting to the tough life.

I have a young relative who worked at multiple unpaid "internships" just to establish some work history before he found a (poorly) paying job.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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... and employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.
Interesting. If the frequently prevailing view about generation Y's attitude to work is correct, then employers are in for a reality check: Generation Y: they don't live for work ... they work to live | Money | The Observer

I do agree with W2R - it gets harder to put in very long hours as you get older
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:48 PM   #5
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At first thought after reading MichaelB's post, it seemed like this should be a good time for an entrepreneurial minded person to go into business. With many potential employees available who'd be "willing to do whatever it takes" and to "do so much for so little," how could you lose?

But I wonder if it's really true. Would this economy be condusive to launching new businesses? Or would factors other than the availability of employees "willing to do what it takes" be trumped by other negative economic factors?

I have no urge to put assets at risk, hire people and launch a business, but I'm a geezer and past that. Maybe theFed will see this and comment.........
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:20 PM   #6
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>>then employers are in for a reality check:

I don't think it will be the employers, it will be the GenY's that will be at the loosing end. Those that are smart, motivated and willing to work harder and longer than anyone else, will become rich. Those that are not willing/able will not do as well, and companies will continue to ship jobs overseas, at least some of them, to people that will work long and hard for very little money.

I worked in industries (financial services and technology), were people routinely worked 80+ hour weeks. At least I always got paid by the hour (as a contractor/consultant), but my client used to brag about how much he got his team to work...sometimes topping over 100 hours, and most of them were on salary. In his defense, he always worked just as hard and just as long and was also on salary, but he didn't make a lot of friends.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.
My sense is that the competitive pressures that used to be unique to prestige positions are spreading to every area of the labor market. 100% commitment to the job is fast becoming a minimum standard. I'd say this is a bad development for workers in general, but until now hadn't considered how much worse it might be for older workers in particular.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:36 PM   #8
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Say what you will, but nothing motivates people like hunger. And many young folks without work are hungry.

If us geezers should find our financial means curtailed, how many would rather sell a kidney like Khan often says, or go do some w*rk?

Dunno about the rest of y'all, but I love my kidneys, even if they produce stones (big ones too!).
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Had lunch with a good friend over the weekend. She has her own business, specialized professional recruiting,... employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.

Ours is a tough economy and, if this is true and widespread, older unemployed people are in for a long, hard time.
Hadn't thought about it, but it doesn't surprise me much. The most successful people I worked with (in manufacturing) worked 60+ hrs/week (productively, not just putting in time for appearances) at all salaried levels except clerical. Most of us were on call 24/7 our entire careers, though fortunately the calls could be handled on the phone more often than not. Our most senior Officers probably worked the most hours, many were divorced as a result. It was very competitive out there when I left 9 months ago. Those who didn't work more than 40-50 hrs/wk were unlikely to advance, but some consciously made that choice.

I am starting to think if you want to be successful in the creative class, you're going to have to work long, productive hours. Maybe the service industry won't be as demanding, but they don't pay well either. The middle has been hollowed out, sent offshore - as we all know.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:56 PM   #10
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60 -80 hours per week!!!? [Not to mention 100...] No wonder RE is popular around here.
I am in the construction business, we have what we call shifts. You go home, somebody else takes your place... <G>
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:06 PM   #11
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My son-in-law works for a Power Plant, and He says they want to hire the younger generation, but they miss work, never on time, and on their phones constantly. They will start you working 10hrs a day, 7 days a week, sometimes for 2 weeks straight. Pay $95k. He says, the turn over is real high for the younger kids, and they have been hiring people over 50 years young. The older generation is here everyday.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:14 PM   #12
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My son-in-law works for a Power Plant, and He says they want to hire the younger generation, but they miss work, never on time, and on their phones constantly. They will start you working 10hrs a day, 7 days a week, sometimes for 2 weeks straight. Pay $95k. He says, the turn over is real high for the younger kids, and they have been hiring people over 50 years young. The older generation is here everyday.
May be applicable, but the OP's friend was "specialized professional recruiting."

May be more like the power plant? We had the same frustration with hourly production, maintenance, quality & warehouse personnel even though we started people at more than $20/hr. Overtime was anathema to most of the younger guys, even those with families. Waiting 10 minutes to "trade off" info with oncoming shifts was a bother to them. And they complained more too. It was the 50-something's you could count on in a pinch, with a few exceptions. But with our process control systems and computer everything, we couldn't hire 50-something's from outside, their success rate was almost nil. It was a rock and a hard place to hire...
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:28 PM   #13
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It seems like competition and fear have been driving this trend for the last 25 years (with a brief and narrow diversion among the dot coms). On another thread we were recently talking about the prognosticators who say we will have a significant shortage of skilled workers soon. Maybe we will see a Gen Y revenge against the employers who exploited them during this crunch. Or maybe not.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:40 PM   #14
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It seems like competition and fear have been driving this trend for the last 25 years (with a brief and narrow diversion among the dot coms). On another thread we were recently talking about the prognosticators who say we will have a significant shortage of skilled workers soon. Maybe we will see a Gen Y revenge against the employers who exploited them during this crunch. Or maybe not.
Since our country has been invaded, The wages have gone down considerably. Corporate America, Uses the this tactic to keep all wages low. I have seen Programmers, Electricians, Plumbers, Executives give up, and Now Drive Trucks, Kid you not.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:59 PM   #15
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My sense is that the competitive pressures that used to be unique to prestige positions are spreading to every area of the labor market. 100% commitment to the job is fast becoming a minimum standard. I'd say this is a bad development for workers in general, but until now hadn't considered how much worse it might be for older workers in particular.
More reason why we need to adopt international labor standards.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:17 PM   #16
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Since our country has been invaded, The wages have gone down considerably. Corporate America, Uses the this tactic to keep all wages low. I have seen Programmers, Electricians, Plumbers, Executives give up, and Now Drive Trucks, Kid you not.
Damn, I was taking a nap. Must have missed the invasion. Was it on CNN?
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:24 PM   #17
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Damn, I was taking a nap. Must have missed the invasion. Was it on CNN?
I have been in Trucking for 38 years. The Industry has changed. 9 out of 13 of my nieces and nephews are Spanish/American. I have 2 nieces that are Pilots, One Is a flight instructor, and the other Works for Boeing Intl, Another Niece is a CPA, and 1 nephew is a Project Manager for a Electric Company. Hey, My family invaded the U.S.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:05 PM   #18
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All this talk of 60-80 hour work weeks makes me think young people should be more independent and make their own job. Need an extra $20,000? Work more. Want more time with the kids? Cut expenses and work less.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:20 PM   #19
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I made the earlier comment regarding younger people willing to work hard, because I have read that the unemployment rate is higher among the 20-something.

Then, just now finished watching a 60 Minutes piece on the Millenial Generation. It said that the younger folks in their 20s were self-absorbed, spoiled, and would not go the extra mile for their employers. It was like Midpack described below.

So, what's the truth? The TV piece above was old. Perhaps the Great Recession has changed them?


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May be applicable, but the OP's friend was "specialized professional recruiting."

May be more like the power plant? We had the same frustration with hourly production, maintenance, quality & warehouse personnel even though we started people at more than $20/hr. Overtime was anathema to most of the younger guys, even those with families. Waiting 10 minutes to "trade off" info with oncoming shifts was a bother to them. And they complained more too. It was the 50-something's you could count on in a pinch, with a few exceptions. But with our process control systems and computer everything, we couldn't hire 50-something's from outside, their success rate was almost nil. It was a rock and a hard place to hire...
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:08 PM   #20
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Pretty much all the data I've seen, article and news magazine I've watched says that while employment for 50 year old is still the highest, finding a job if you are out of work and over 50 is really really tough. It is especially hard for the long term unemployed.

I have 3 friends (one very close) who have been un/underemployed for a least 3 years and one is going on 5 years. I doubt between the 3 of them they made $30,000 last year. They all had savings, and one guy is fortunate to be married to a doctor. The divorced gal and single guy, by many measure have slipped out of the middle class.

I convince my close friend to use 72(t) to at least minimize the penalty for early withdrawals, but I have given up pretending to be able to give any of them advice. I truly have no idea what they should do.

I bet Michael's friend is right, if the job requires 60 hour week a young person is better able to handle it so why hire an old fart. I know if I was hiring that it would at least be in the back of my mind.

I really hope the stock market rally is truly a good sign for the economy.
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