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Is There a Connection Between the New Unemployables and the New Retirement?

December 8th, 2010 by admin in Books, Careers, management

Recently Cali Yost, CEO of the consulting firm Flex + Strategy Group who blogs about work/life fit at  wrote about her experience in a New York City cab on the way to an appointment in this post.  She then posed the question, “What can we do right now to help people over 55 years old find and keep jobs?” 

She quoted statistics  about the differences between the way older and younger workers go about job hunting from a new research study called The New Unemployables.

The study points to differences in the way the young and old differ in how they look for work. Younger workers are more likely to have taken a course, use new media and relocate. Still this doesn’t get at the nub of the problem.

I called Peter Cappelli the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania. With Bill Novelli, who formerly ran AARP he’s written a book called Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order (Harvard Business School Press 2010.)  They say organizations have a lot to gain by employing older workers. Yet, with few exceptions, companies resist the idea. Just this week  Knowledge at Wharton the school’s online business journal weighed in on a few explanations in  The New Face of Retirement.

One of the reasons may be what  Ted C. Fishman   calls “age arbitrage” in his new book Shock of Gray, was reviewed in  The New York Times

“Age arbitrage is now an essential strategy for businesses trying to compete in the global economy,” Fishman writes. “If the companies that engineer the magic combination of younger workers and low wages win, management will continue to look for ways to jettison older, higher-wage workers.”

“As shown by the recent rise in boomerangers — Americans who move back in with their parents — age arbitrage affects workers both young and old. If youth unemployment cannot be lowered, it could rob the United States of the benefits of having a relatively young labor force, Fishman argues.”

So, if corporations persist in ignoring older workers does it mean that we are compromising two generations at once?

And, if so, what can we do about it?

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