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Older workers are getting jobs – is this good news or not?

by on December 1, 2015

I was very intrigued by this piece on the Huffington Post by US-based journalist Ann Brenoff. She writes about what is perceived to be an upturn in the fortunes of older job seekers who apparently are now being hired in the US. This is based on a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report: “In October, the age group that accounted for virtually all total job gains was workers aged 55 and over. They added some 378,000 jobs in the past month, representing virtually the entire increase in payrolls.” Brenoff suggests that these aren’t necessarily ‘good jobs’, more likely what she describes as ‘Welcome to Walmart’ employment. I guess that’s probably similar to an older worker in the UK getting a job at B&Q.

What’s interesting is the suggested reason behind the statistic. And this is said to be because older workers are afraid to ask for a salary increase and are prepared just to take the in-job benefits that come with employment. Of course in the US that can mean health care cover so perhaps not directly comparable to the position in the UK. But what is likely to be replicated in the UK is the suggestion that some older workers are approaching retirement without the means to support themselves through pension entitlement and personal savings so are continuing to work. And I’d suggest that the precariousness of work (or the perception of it) these days may mean that many people of all ages find that they are not in a good negotiating position when it comes to pay rises.

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