The ‘juniorization’ of organizations: Why this idea should be put in timeout
Friday, February 22, 2019
Blatant discrimination against older workers is illegal. Yet, it happens every day. David Neumark, a professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine, and two other economists published a study in 2017. They sent out 40,000 resumes for thousands of real jobs. The resumes for any given job were identical except for age.
"The call-back rate — the rate by which employers contact us and say we'd like to interview you — drops from young applicants to middle-aged applicants and drops further from middle-aged applicants to older applicants," Neumark says.
The results were worse for older women than for older men. For women, he says, "the call-back rates dropped by around a quarter when you go from the young group to the middle-aged group. ... And they drop by another quarter when you go from the middle-age group to ... around age 65."
The "juniorization" of organizations is a phenomenon in many businesses these days. This is where older workers, are swiftly being replaced by younger workers. This also explains why it’s harder for mature workers to secure employment. Here are some things to consider before jumping on this bandwagon.
Early on in my career, I worked in the oil industry. Things were going great until the price of oil dropped dramatically. With less than a year of experience under my belt, I found myself unemployed. Confused, I asked my older co-worker why I was chosen. He explained to me that with his experience, he could do his job and mine. Clearly the opposite was not true.
Hiring young people to do the work of experienced people to save money simply doesn't add up. You may save a few dollars on the front end, but you will most certainly lose money when you factor in employee productivity and high turnover that is common among junior workers.
Younger workers often bring lots of drama to the workplace. Now before you send me a hate email, let me explain. When you are young, everything seems like a big deal.
You are willing to go to the ends of the earth for your convictions. As time goes on, you realize that not everything is worth fighting for. You learn to pick and choose your battles more wisely. You also get a lot better at mastering productive relationships.
I'm often asked to help clients deal with the drama that’s going on in their workplaces. That's because many of their leaders have not been vetted properly. Often times, they are the source of the drama. Think about this the next time you decide to promote or hire an inexperienced leader.
We talk a lot about diversity in terms of race and gender, but often ignore the concept of age diversity. While it may not seem all that cool to have people in your organization who aren't interested in joining the company's ultimate Frisbee team, it certainly should not be a game-stopper.
Sometimes you need someone who can pull you back, before you go over the edge. That someone is usually a more experienced worker, who has been on the edge himself.
Take a good look at your employee base. Does everyone act and look the same? Don't be afraid to shake things up!
Companies are complaining how fickle workers are today. They are usually talking about young people who think nothing of changing jobs as often as they change their socks.
I can’t blame them. There are so many opportunities out there that it's like being a kid in the candy store. You want everything you see.
Mature workers are less inclined to jump ship the moment a bigger boat comes calling. They are on a different journey than their younger counterparts. Consider this before setting your mature workers out to sea.
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