Sunday, January 28, 2007

Age discrimination in hiring is alive and well

It is interesting that while the average life expectancy has gone up over 20 years since Social Security started, average retirement age has not. In fact, we can see that a company seeking a 45 year old in 1950 was looking for someone two thirds of the way through his or her life, that now translates to someone close to the midpoint. Yet, while pundits keep on proclaiming that America will have to find new ways to make better use of people in their 60s, companies persist in excluding them from opportunities.

The average age of the Iraq Study Group was 74, yet, most position specs will talk abut seeking people with 10-15 years experience (or 35-40 in the case of an executive). I have never seen a spec which calls for 30 years experience (a 55 year old), and would collapse if I saw one for someone with 40 years experience. Yet, why not? If today's 65 year old is like a 50 year old of a generation ago, companies should be eager to hire energetic, smart and very seasoned executives.

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