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Monday, September 15, 2008

Best Workers: Young or Old?

In the not too distant past, a person could go to work for a national company fresh out of college at age 21 or 22. They could work until 65, get the gold watch, retire, and go fishing. Times have changed. With companies merging, going out of business, or jobs being shipped overseas, it is not uncommon to see people out on the street at age 50+ wondering what to do next. Most of them have bills and need jobs but now they find that at age 50+ they are competing with the same 21 or 22 year olds they once were.

If you are an employer, this situation presents some decision making. Do you hire the older experienced worker or the young kid right out of college? Age discrimination is illegal but some companies fear the older worker because they are afraid they may lack the energy they demand in the job, will not work enough years before they retire and a new hire will be necessary, or, because of their experience, may demand more money.

On the other hand, younger workers are inexperienced and many times immature, have no track record, and can tend to have a "know it all" attitude. However, they usually will work for less money even though we know that you usually get what you pay for.

I know some of you like Desert Ghost own your own companies while some probably have thoughts on which group is the most desirable to employ. Here are a few opinions from others:

"Older workers don’t like to start anything new because they plan to retire at 62. Young people think 6 months to a year at an employer is plenty. Loyalty? Forget about it. They don’t believe in making a difference long-term, and they’re out the door at 5PM sharp … if not m-u-c-h earlier."

"Everything depends on the individual … there are good people and slackers at every age range."

"The over 50 crowd has been over the falls too many times in a barrel, and they aren’t that willing to bang the cult drum like the young folk."

"Give me the energy of the younger pros plus the experience and value system of the older ones and I’ve got a dream team."

What is your opinion? Who would be the best hire for you?

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