New study pits teens against 50 plussers!

In a groundbreaking study, by Paul Harrington, an economist at Northeastern University, LA teens employment patterns were studied.

One of the main reasons cited for challenges to teens finding employment, and to rising unemployment numbers for those teens, was due to the fact that older workers are staying in the workforce longer and taking entry level jobs in order to sustain themselves financially.

What I find astounding is that information comes to light in a study on teen employment patterns. 50 Plussers are taking entry level jobs in order to pay the bills, support their families, stave off poverty, feel useful. They are unable to sustain themselves on retirement income, severance pay and are unable to find employment in their field.

I feel for the teens who cannot find work. But I’m saddened that the reason 50 Plus are taking these jobs is for one reason and one reason alone. They, too, cannot find work. The study sites a certain level of ageism regarding teen hires. The lack of job experience means they cannot get a job.

And on the reverse end of the spectrum, there is ageism. A person of maturity, with life and job experience, cannot find a job within their field of expertise, and they, therefore, take away a job from a teen.

In a story in the LA Times, Nicholas Riccardi, looks at the implications of the study. Below is the portion of the article relating to older workers.

Add to that more competition from better qualified workers. Teens are being crowded out of jobs by older workers and immigrants of all ages, who are willing to take menial jobs that once were the province of teens. Employers generally see both groups as more reliable than teenagers.

“The percentage of adults over age 55 in the workforce has risen since 2001. Some older workers are choosing to work longer to stay occupied, but surveys show that the majority keep laboring because they have not saved enough for retirement.

“The competition is not just other youths right now, it’s the older population who’s been laid off and is willing to take these jobs because they’re willing to do it with less pay,” said Sharifa Austin, a counselor who tries to connect teens to jobs for the city’s Community Development Department.

She recalled a recent trip to a movie theater during which a gray-haired usher took her ticket. “What adult in the past could you think of who actually would work at a theater?”

Employers attest to the desirability of older workers. Walgreen Co., the national drugstore chain that is expanding in Southern California, has formed a partnership with the AARP to recruit more elderly employees.

Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce said that the company’s rapid growth left room to hire teenagers as well, and that it was not dropping the number of teens it employed to make way for older workers. But older workers are a particularly good catch.

“They’re incredibly loyal and serve as good role models for our younger workers,” Bruce said, “and I think they bring a level of maturity to the role.”

To read the full story about the study, go to: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-teens31may31.story

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