Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Old and dumped

When the economic slump began, I wondered if the traditionally vulnerable groups would get the sack first. Unhappily they have, with us oldies hit the hardest. So much for anti-ageism laws.

From September to November, unemployment of up to six months among Britons over 50 climbed by 30 per cent. For younger age groups, the biggest increase was only 12 per cent.

Pretty shocking statistics when only recently the British government passed new laws that were meant to prevent age discrimination and give us oldies a fair deal for a change.

But as I said earlier, if employers are determined to find loopholes in the law and kick out oldies regardless, those loopholes will appear. And a TV programme a few days ago explained them.

Of course employers aren't stupid enough to say "Sorry, you're too old. Get lost". So the assorted oldies on the programme had been given all sorts of euphemistic refusals, such as "You're over-qualified", "You'll be bored", "You won't fit in", "The culture won't suit you" or "We're looking for someone dynamic". Cleverly worded excuses that wouldn't get a legal action very far.

Employment agencies simply "lost" the CVs they received from older workers.

At the same time those approaching the official retirement age of 65 are still being shown the door, because the law still allows sackings in certain circumstances which employers are only too willing to exploit.

So it rather looks as though I might be unemployed for some time, unless I fancy sweeping the streets or dishing out parking fines. But would the street sweeping culture suit me, I wonder? And would I be dynamic enough?

PS: Women are getting shat on as well. They're twice as likely to get sacked as men. No surprises there....

21 comments:

conortje said...

It really is very very depressing - I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you Nick. I'm also beginning to wonder if taking off for a year of travelling in the middle of all this is the best idea - I'll return pennyless and jobless...gulp!

Nick said...

Conor - Oh, you should always take the opportunity to travel, whatever you might come back to. Otherwise you'll regret not travelling later on in life.

Grannymar said...

It is not nice being put out to grass. At least you have your health and someone to share the beginning and end of each day.

Never say never, opportunity might just be lurking round the corner.

@Conor - GO, travel while you are young and healthy. The 'I wishes' make poor memories!

gaudiumdegaea said...

Nick ~ Ditto Grannymar.
And good luck with it all. You never know, keep looking at job opportunities that might also be interesting to you.
I think I mentioned this before somewhere but have you thought of working in the community services, working with people with disabilities? You are compassionate, kind and gentle, you might actually enjoy working in that area?
Just a thought.
Gxox

Nick said...

Grannymar - Yes, hopefully there's an opportunity there somewhere, if I can just track it down.

Gayé - Yes, you mentioned community work before. I really must investigate that idea. And thanks for the flattery!

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm confident you'll find your niche, Nick, for all the reasons your "fans" mention.
Do you volunteer at all? Often this leads to an undiscovered passion (and pay).
The world is morphing into something completely different and it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. We're never going back to the way it was that's for sure.
And us oldies have a lot of grey power.
XO
WWW

Baino said...

It is indeed tough Nick although beware the statistics. We have 7% unemployment at the moment which is high by our standards but that means that 93% of people of working age have jobs . . there's hope. Although that's why I remain in my loveless position, I'm scared that if I pack it in or take on another, it might not last and then I'm stuffed! Such a shame, we older people have much to offer in experience and wisdom, reliability and conscientiousness.

Nick said...

www - I'm thinking about volunteering if I'm at a loose end for too long. I've certainly volunteered in the past, and it gave me a lot of useful skills and experience.

Baino - True, there are some jobs out there somewhere, if I can just find out where they're hiding. I'm sure you're right to stick to your present job, especially in the current economic turmoil.

Hullaballoo said...

Volunteering is a good stop gap, countering the gloominess of being out of contact with people for too long. And WWW is right, it can lead to paid employment.

In Edinburgh we have a volunteer exchange, which has a database of all the voluntary work, divided by sector. Do you have something like that in Belfast.

Take hear, my friend, not everyone is ageist. xx

Hullaballoo said...

Take hear? I meant take heart, obviously. Beward the dreaded typo lol.

Nick said...

Hulla - Yes, we have volunteer centres here too. I must get down to one and see what's on offer. Typos? More haist less spede, I say.

Liz said...

You're the second blogging casualty I've heard of in the last week. Hope you find something sooner rather than later.

Nick said...

Liz - Thanks. Fortunately my partner Jenny earns an above-average salary so I'm not in desperate need of a job right now. I feel for those who've been sacked and have such huge financial commitments they're worried to death about staying afloat. There are families where every person has lost a job. It's horrific.

Fate's Granddaughter said...

It is so disheartening when one realises that all of the 'protection' employees have in this country seems to count for little when actually put in practice. Good luck - the VSB in Belfast is really helpful for linking individuals in with appropriate volunteer positions.

Nick said...

FG - Laws always seem to have loopholes. Maybe the only answer is government inspectors visiting ageist bosses and quietly putting the frighteners on them? And yes, I really must pop into the VSB.

Quickroute said...

It's a starnge time to be sure - if my current adventure doesn't work out we can console each other _ and sure isn't it grand the women are working to keep us the the style were accustomed to!

Nick said...

Quicky - Oh indeed, where would we be without our devoted sugar mummies? Mind you, we've reversed roles in the past when I've been supporting Jenny during her postgraduate studies....

Suburbia said...

That means there's no point in me looking for better paid work at the mo then!

Nick said...

Suburbia - But do you want better paid work anyway, or do you prefer one that's not so well paid but more enjoyable?

Nicole said...

Timely post, Nick. I was visiting a church and the pastor asked all those who'd been laid off or fired recently to stand up. It was nearly a third of the room and about half of those looked over 50. I agree with those who recommended volunteering. I was unemployed for 4mths not long after Katrina hit my hometown in Mississippi and I moved to Atlanta. I started volunteering at an animal shelter and food bank almost every day. It was nice to have the routine. It'd be nice if you could get paid to write since you've got a talent for it...but don't start charging your blog followers - I'm darn near broke.

Nick said...

Nicole - Those people at the church certainly emphasised the problem. Right now there's a possibility of us moving so I'm putting all job/volunteering plans on hold for a little while. The problem with paid writing is how to get paid for the sort of things I actually want to write about rather than journalistic clichés or crime novels.