Monday, 21 October 2019

Can AI eliminate discrimination in job recruitment?

Might advanced technology help stop the problem of recruiters discriminating unfairly against job applicants?

Russell Cavanagh writes about age discrimination.and other issues affecting the employment market.

Despite Economic Survivor still being a young blog, there are plenty of articles here confirming what many readers (well, both of you) likely know already - that no matter what laws exist, age discrimination remains rife in the realm of employment.

Office decoration

I was once on a job recruitment panel that chose the young female candidate over the more experienced older man. In retrospect, it seemed a wee bit like choosing how to decorate the office best.

Although I wasn't entirely happy with my then manager's final say, I was still a decade or two away from standing in the same shoes the older guy wore that day. My younger self therefore saw no great issue.

But in truth it turned out, despite thinking at the time my boss was more interested in improving the office feng shui, that our choice did prove very good at doing her job.

And yet she likely wouldn't have got it had automation been available in the recruitment process way back around 2003. Here's why ...

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Higher minimum wage means less money

Who can disagree with the notion of employers paying a decent minimum wage? But this can come at unaffordable cost.

The UK, like the US and other countries, sets mandatory minimum wage levels that employers must pay workers. In Britain the actual figure varies according to age but currently tops out at an hourly £8.21 for anyone aged 25 and over.

A minimum wage increases pressure on businesses not only to finance each employee's take-home pay but also to cover other associated costs such as tax and National Insurance liabilities.

So hiring more workers on shorter hours gives companies clear economic incentives to hire more workers in part-time roles; if employees aren't given enough hours to trigger income tax or National Insurance thresholds, the employer saves a lot of money.

Add other factors to the miserable mix such as increased workplace automation plus a continued rise in online consumer spending (rather than at brick & mortar stores) and the future picture of employment snaps into sharp focus.

In a tight economy, taking opportunities to slash costs proves irresistible.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Protect yourself online to get that job!

We've learned since Edward Snowden's revelations how social media platforms act largely as data collection and intelligence gathering tools. Job seekers are cottoning on.

Visit Economic Survivor blog for the latest tips on job hunting and career change!

Multiple forms of surveillance

Of course, Snowden told us about algorithms, automated intelligence and other digital methods seeking to find out more about us than we are perhaps comfortable with.

If our personal data isn't being harvested for "national security" purposes then it's at least given to commercial and other corporate entities. This is certainly true of free services such as social media and webmail accounts, where we become "the product".

However, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and similar are favourite places for recruiters to check out job candidates. Where better to find out what we really think and how we act when our guard is down?

No matter how carefully you fill out a job application form or compose a "winning" CV, your cannabis avatar or Friday night out photos may let you down.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Older workers becoming the norm?

Will age discrimination become an anachronism as almost one third of today's UK workforce are aged at least 50?


Russell Cavanagh writes about age discrimination and employment issues.

"As the UK becomes more reliant on older workers to meet labour and skill shortages, the world of work will change."

In an article published earlier this week on the website, Andrew Secker wrote: "The employment rate of workers aged 50-64 has doubled over the last 30 years, with those aged 50 and over already making up more than 30 per cent of the UK’s workforce."

Blaming a fall in the nation's birth rates, Secker continued: "As the UK becomes more reliant on older workers to meet labour and skill shortages, the world of work will change." (Read the full article here.)

Although Secker was primarily offering advice to company recruiters and hiring managers seeking to avoid legal pitfalls, he was in fact setting out a demographic that may bring comfort to we jobseekers and career changers of maturer vintage.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Job searches taking two years for over-50s

An article published earlier today reports on research showing well over one-third of jobseekers aged 50+ are likely to be unemployed for two years.

​Those aged 50 to 64 are 37% more likely to be unemployed for more than two years than under-50s, according to analysis from jobsite Rest Less.

Its analysis, based on multiple datasets from the Office for National Statistics' Labour Force Survey (May to July 2019), found that despite their low rate of unemployment overall, those aged 50 to 64 are more likely than any other age group to remain unemployed long term (two years or more).

The research found that 0.62% of 50- to 64-year-olds were unemployed for two years or more, compared to 0.45% of 25- to 49-year-olds and 0.51% of 16- to 24-year-olds.

Read more ...

For context, see my post published here last month about the Office for National Statistics finding employment rates among those aged 50 - 64 years had hit a "record high" of 72.7%.

Note that I also pointed out in the article how ONS data used showed "an aggregated 85% for those aged between 25 and 49 years" - a figure sitting almost 12% above the older generation's good news.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Anything good about that women state pension age judgment?

Yesterday's ruling by the UK High Court dismissing two women's claims of sex and age discrimination could work in favour of older workers in general.

Basically, two women had filed a judicial review action claiming statutory increases in state pension age for women born in the 1950s breached their civil rights on grounds of age discrimination, sex discrimination and lack of notice.

The High Court rejected these claims in a judgment handed down yesterday (October 3) at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Hearing the case, Lord Justice Irwin and Justice Whipple even stated that the raise in state pension age for women addressed previous long-standing discrimination against men.

How might this decision be useful to older workers in general?

Traditionally, men could claim state retirement pension at 65 and women at 60. This recently changed to 67 years and both sexes will, under current government plans, eventually have to work until they reach 68 years.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Writing a CV that Avoids Age Discrimination!

Being dismissed as "overqualified" is effectively age discrimination in any job market. But do we invite this with outdated presentation of our CVs?

I read an article recently by a blogger who found that aged 45 she was deemed "too qualified" by hiring managers. Her field of expertise was, ironically, human resources and she wanted to return to her career after a few years away.

She talked about how that discrimination distressed not only her but her family too; resolving the situation by starting a new business that promotes relaxation through painting therapy.

My own C.V. as a car crash

What she said got me thinking. My own work history is a bit of a car crash in terms of several fancy job titles - journalist, legal adviser, photographer, publicity coordinator, multimedia producer, et al - not holding together in any traditional form of CV narrative.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Latest ONS Stats on UK Employees by Industry Published

The Office for National Statistics released data today on numbers of Britain's employees by industry last year.

Russell Cavanagh's SENIOR SHIFT blog reports on employment issues for older people.

Anyone considering retraining or looking for a new career might find the information useful. Basically, STEM fields good, arts & media bad.

Employees in the UK by industry: 2018

  • Between 2017 and 2018, the largest increase in employee estimates by industry has been in the professional, scientific and technical industry (up 82,100, or 3.3%), followed by the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (up 52,000, or 1.1%).
  • Between 2017 and 2018, the largest decrease in employee estimates by industry has been in the information and communication industry (down 21,200, or 1.6%).
  • In 2018, the two industries with the largest share of the UK’s employees were: wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles (15.2%); followed by human health and social work activities (13.2%).

Read the full ONS release here ...

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Four Core Questions Recruiters Want Answered

Getting flustered at job interview is common. So knowing in advance the four basic questions recruiters want answered can be a tremendous help.

Russell Cavanagh writes about recruitement and career issues for jobseekers over 50.

I've sat both sides of the table when it comes to job interviews. I can assure you that recruiters will be just as worried about not hiring the right person as the interviewees are about putting a foot wrong.

However, it's worth keeping in mind that there are really just four core questions needing answered in any job interview. Everything else is just about filling in detail to make extra sure.

Let's look at them:

Friday, 20 September 2019

Are Paid Surveys a Waste of Time?

In a nutshell, yes.

Online opinion polls and market research surveys exist that offer participants payment in return for time and trouble taken completing their questions.

Even classified advertising sites with job boards, such as Gumtree, include "opportunities" to "get paid for filling out surveys"; implying that they will provide a regular source of income.

And for those of us currently between jobs, even scratching our heads over new career directions, any chance to make cash that helps cover a few household bills here and there is appealing.

But does it all add up? What is the reality behind the fa├žade?

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Age Bar

In my very first post on this blog I talked about a friend who was refused pub work because of his age and sex. Seems it's a widespread phenomenon ...

My friend, who like me is skidding rapidly through his 50s, was told he needed to be a woman under 30 years of age in order to get a job behind a bar in the seaside village where he lives. Of course, this was entirely in breach of UK anti-discrimination laws.

So it was interesting to read an article on the subject written last year by a lady called Gabriella Mlynarczyk for a drinks industry publication.

Mlynarczyk not only tells her own story but also interviews others like her who lost jobs they were deemed too old for by the licensed trade:
Gabriella Mlynarczyk
21 December 2018

Bar owners and managers usually have an ideal in mind when hiring a team. They think carefully about which qualifications are necessary, whether it’s an ability to lift heavy cases or possess a deep knowledge of a particular spirit or cocktail style. But perhaps more importantly, they have a look in mind. The look of youth.

In my 20 years of working in bars, I’ve come to recognize this look: fresh-faced, well-manicured, overtly stylish, with a general age range of 25 to 35. Old enough to have some experience, in other words, but not so old that the blush has faded from the rose.

Read more ...