There was a time when the companies believed in “last hired, first fired.” The reasoning was that these new hires were usually younger, so it was easier for them to find new employment, and had less training, so the company would retain the experienced heart of their workforce.
Those days are no more. Now my generation, the baby boomers, are the first to go when companies seek to cut costs. According to this article by Elizabeth Olson in the New York Times’ DealB%K, older workers cost the company more money so they’re the first to go regardless of the fact that it is increasingly hard for them to find new jobs—a fact confirmed by AARP. Ironically, companies who indulge in ageism also find that they no longer have competent, experienced employees as a foundation of good operating practices.
I wrote about this at length in my book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, where I shared the case of William, who was systematically forced out of his job after restructuring to save costs. Ageism is a particularly insidious form of discrimination that makes little sense: we will all be old one day—if we’re lucky.
Photo credit: BIGSTOCK