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I’ve been reading so much about companies hiring people 50 and older because they represent stability, experience, knowledge, and practical experience. They say that older workers have skills and essential knowledge of the business and they are retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day and that in five years, 70 million people will have left the workforce, taking with them the knowledge and experience that keep a company operational.

That’s what the news stories say. On the other hand, I keep reading what the older people have been saying and they are crying foul. They say that the reason they were pushed out of their jobs is because they had been with the company so many years that they had reached the top of their pay scale and they had been replaced by younger employees who were paid much less.

I’m inclined to believe the older workers who can’t find jobs because they don’t want to work for minimum wage or slightly above that. They would be expected to do the same work as before, bringing their experience and expertise to these companies for a fraction of what they used to be paid.

The health industry is a case in point. Last year, I was talking to a nurse who had been working for a doctor for twenty years. The doctor retired with very little notice to her staff or to her patients and this nurse received job offers for twelve dollars an hour, a far cry from what she had been earning.

What I learned was that people in the health industry had the hardest time finding jobs if they had the experience and the pay scale to match. When I was in the hospital a few years ago, I can attest to the fact that the nurses were very young and if I hadn’t been my own advocate, I would have died because they didn’t check my chart and tried to give me medication that my chart clearly showed that I was allergic to.

And that’s what we’re facing in the medical field. Hospitals will soon have a shortage of trained nurses and patients will have to bring their own advocates if they want to survive. Hospitals are now being run by corporations that are more interested in the bottom line than in patient care, and that means that the older nurses will be few and far between and young, inexperienced nurses will be the ones taking care of us.

Walk into any of the chain stores and you will see white-haired workers and when you ask them about their wages, they will tell you that they are making minimum wage but feel fortunate to be able to get some employment at their age.

That doesn’t sound to me like these companies are valuing the skills and experience of older employees. It just sounds as if they want these skills at half price.

Don’t Believe the Employment News