You Read - Age diversity

D. Murali | Updated on June 29, 2012


Age is irrelevant, avers John A. Dembitz in It’s the People! ( In his view, “It is the competence of the individual, their drive, motivation, energy and enthusiasm, their experience and expertise, that determines whether they are suitable for specific positions or not.”

Stating that, despite laws against discrimination, even mature economies such as the UK may miss out on the talent and expertise of a vast number of people deemed to be too old, and also the drive and ambition of an equally vast number of people deemed to be too young, the author rues that not enough people are standing up and shouting that this is crazy, especially when there is so much debate about the lack of qualified executives.

“And this is at a time when so many boards are crying out for able non-executive directors and when diversity is needed more and more… and diversity could be achieved by having a greater age range as well.”

His message, therefore, to professional recruiters and search consultants is to debate their clients’ mandate, and ignore their clients’ specifications if necessary to just find the best person for the job irrespective of age. Else, “If you are over 50 it is tough to be considered for major new and challenging positions, and if you are under 30 it is tough to be considered for senior and Board level appointments.”

A section on ‘retention’ quotes ‘a highly talented, well-educated, intelligent and articulate man just turned 30,’ thus: “There are three metrics: money, work-life balance, and intellectual engagement. On money, my job is okay, but I worry about the future; work-life balance is if anything too cushy, a real 9-5 scenario; intellectual engagement is way below 50 per cent! I am dying!”

The tragedy that Dembitz highlights is not only that there are so many energetic and enthusiastic young people desperate to find suitable jobs; but also that there are numerous young professionals who are desperate to get out of their first job. “The huge first job excitement has wilted and been replaced by the reality of boredom, barriers, blockages, no entry signs, cul-de-sacs, and more and more frustrations…”

Insights of immense value to today’s managers.

Published on June 29, 2012

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