Age Discrimination: One Employer’s Rationalization

Hope everybody has some relaxing plans in store for the Thanksgiving holiday — and since I’m just getting ready to head out of town, myself, I thought I’d pass along an interesting blog thread regarding age discrimination that a client of mine recently brought to my attention.

In the first link, below, you’ll see a posting that was written by a business owner in Belgium that explains, overtly, why she is “hesitant” to hire people in the 40+ age bracket.  Needless to say, her inbox immediately exploded with hundreds of comments, mostly consisting of older workers setting her straight and vilifying her views — although there were a handful of people, as well, who supported her or at least gave her credit for talking about this important issue so openly.

Give it a read and see what you think.

Why I Hesitate to Hire Forty-Somethings:

Was this posting a PR ploy or intentional controversy-generator?  Was it a gaffe?  Or perhaps the latest example of a Kinsleyan gaffe, where a business owner or politician accidentally says what they’re really thinking?  We’ll never know for sure.  But the very next day, reeling from the onslaught of messages she’d received, the author put out a follow-up post (linked below) to clarify her views.  Needless to say, this just added fuel to the fire for the most part.  Yet despite all the drama involved, I think these conversational threads reveal the many dimensions of the age discrimination topic and can be useful in helping us all understand why this issue exists, where it’s heading, and how job hunters in the “more experienced” bracket can take steps to combat it.

I Hire on Ability, and Nothing Else:

Again, make sure you don’t just stop with reading each article itself.  Scroll through the litany of comments you’ll find under each article, both for and against the author’s views, since that’s where the intricacies of the issue really get fleshed out — and the conversation really heats up.

To the point, at times, I dare say you could probably cook a turkey on it!

4 Responses to “Age Discrimination: One Employer’s Rationalization”

  1. As Inge Gerdens is a self-described “Thought Leader” it begs the question, “what was she thinking?”

    What is truly mind boggling is her company, CVWarehouse, is a recruiting company. The website says CV Warehouse will “automate the entire recruitment process.” That is a relief as I trust the computer to be more objective.

    Regarding her suggestion that people should work on commission; has this “Thought Leader” done any thought or research on this? I can point to studies that indicate such jobs attract less than desirable candidates and often don’t work for employer or employee.

    Her response, “I hire on ability, and nothing else,” reminded me of a Romney underling spinning the 47% comment.

    In closing… I believe hiring managers do not discriminate on age but rather on experience.

  2. Pete Carroll is 61. He earns his keep. In reason 2 of this article, why the Seahawks defense is good, he is said to bring the drive and energy to make a team excellent, seems like he thinks young too…a young “player” may be a good thing but when “experience” coupled with energy is included on the leadership side it sure helps.

    Whatever the reason she wrote her article I suggest her focus was a bit negative. She’ll end up with whatever it is she wants; and I have no idea what that is.

  3. As I read the “Why I don’t hire over 40,” I had a déjà vue moment. Somehow I felt I had met the author or at least her soul mates in my prior corporate life This is a person who is looking for a deal, taking advantage of a situation and not willing to hire for talent. She seems interested in a partner, not a valued employee. At risk compensation has it place but to impose that on older workers, inaproprietly for the nature of their work they
    are hired to do is obnoxious and an abuse of management power. Ya think I have strong feelings on this subject?

  4. Matt,

    Interesting topic.

    This “thought leader” exposes her bias around the connection between age and pay.

    At least she’d be straight forward to negotiate with as she appears “direct” enough. Taking a “leap of faith” is not a bad idea if you wanted to do the job she’d posted and the culture was a fit.

    My radar would be up to learn what she thought about other things, as I evalue things, but I suspect it would be easy enough to find out.

    My 2 cents…

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