Older Execs Need Not Apply

Jul 21, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Forget about the silver lining. As far as some former senior executives in the fifty-something and above age group are concerned, some gray clouds are just that — gray — lining and all.

Although reports show new jobs being created by the economy, a report in The Wall Street Journal said there is a growing trend of older executives unable to find new employment.

The same report in the Journal cited Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that between February 2000 and January 2002, unemployed workers between the ages of 55 and 64 finding new employment dropped from 58.8% to 52.5%. This was the lowest rate since 1994, according to the government.

Joseph Briley, a former information-technology executive with Merrill Lynch and Citibank and a graduate of Harvard Business School, is one of the faces behind the statistics.

Mr. Briley, who is 58-years old and has been jobless for three years, said, “There is a surplus of labor in this country and if you are an older worker, it is very hard to find something. This all gets swept under the rug because these are not people standing in bread lines. But there are a lot of us.”

“If you are in your late 40s or 50s and get caught up in one of these things, it is just a bad situation,” he said. “I have more or less realized I am not going to get employment again. Nobody really wants to talk about the issue. But there is all this intellectual talent just sitting out there.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on how the job recovery is going? What are the implications for the consumer marketing and retailing business?

Although government numbers continue to show jobs being created, there is an increased rumbling that many if not most of the employment being created is
in positions that pay poverty level or below wages to workers.

There have also been more reports about people no longer showing up on statistics because they have simply stopped looking for work. Many of these don’t
show up on government welfare program data either, because they are not taking public assistance.

Normally, we would dismiss this as a report by someone with an agenda. We can’t, however, as in the case of this Wall Street Journal report, blame
it on Bush-bashers.

We know enough people with similar stories to Joseph Briley to understand this is not an isolated case.
George Anderson – Moderator

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