Is the Field of Recruitment Becoming No Country for Old Men and Women?

No Country For Old Men Or Women

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"View the latest pictures, photos and images from No Country for Old Men - In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh, on his trail...with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sherrif Ed Tom Bell blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart."

A great movie and theme about how the growing mayhem in society bewilders a long time Sheriff who has pretty much seen everything up until now.  I'm intrigued about this theme of growing old on-the-job and what it means for a growing population of graying professionals and the industries they work in.

We're all going there...old age... if we're lucky.  With the upheaval of the world economies in terms of savings, job availability and delayed retirements, among other things--can the elderly compete and survive for what's coming?

One of my first comments on the RBC was:  “I recruit therefore I am.”

I've been in recruiting roles for the past 41 years.  On Feb 14th I'll be going on 42 years.

I'd like to know from my fellow recruiters, in your view, is the recruiting field now becoming No Country For Old Men and Women?

Is age in any field an asset or a liability? 

Photo source: country for old men/

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Comment by bill josephson on February 6, 2012 at 10:27am

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Working as an employee it's definitely a disadvantage, IMO. Most employers will gear towards hiring a person who can do the work of more than one person. This means being the best at what they do or being able to perform multiple functions well. Otherwise, it's generally a contracting assignment for everyone for the specified time required to get a task done. There's stamina, longevity, technology, and health issues to consider which, of course, will never be overtly mentioned to anyone.

The exception had been in Defense Engineering where there's a shortage of expertise in offensive and defensive system experience requiring advanced degrees and a variety of Clearances and opportunities to work part time or shorter hour schedules. However, the Obama administration's policy tack of defense spending cuts has made many senior workers expendable with less money coming in to Defense Contractors. ..

Comment by Chris Grove on February 7, 2012 at 6:00am

I think if you're looking to move jobs it may be a disadvantage but actually in the workplace is a different matter.  Older employees bring all the experience and have seen it all before, younger recruiters have a huge amount to learn from our older colleagues and should be tapping into their knowledge as a vital resource that whill help us long term. 

Comment by Valentino Martinez on February 7, 2012 at 3:33pm


You're so right about the value of knowledge and experience the older, accomplished recruiters can bring to those just coming into the discipline.

I would also add that relocation will become less of an issue with senior recruiters who can't afford not to be working and have seen their children leave the nest.  They have the knowledge and functionality to be an asset to future employers since they are no longer tied down to a particular geography.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on February 7, 2012 at 3:52pm

@Bill, I have to disagree with your implied limitations of older recruiters and older workers in general.  The shear knowledge base that top performing older recruiters, and older employees for that matter, have in their disciplines and on the job dwarfs their much younger counterparts who are on a learning curve and, frankly, need to be mentored by their elders.

Who do you think was left doing the job that five employees did five years ago?  The dramatic delayering of management and high paid roles over the past twenty years has pushed the work load down to the remaining retained workforce with a large percentage of them being older workers.

And your right about the defense industry needing to hang on to their older technical engineers.  But it’s not just the defense industry—it’s in multiple industries depending on what older workers have in their head gained for years of experiences on-the-job.  These same older employees are always making suggestions for improved process and continue to contribute to innovations on the job.    

And I don’t accept the comeback that older recruiters are all adverse to learning, staying current and or creating new systems, technologies and applications going forward. Those new advances stand on the shoulders of the very recruiters—now seniors—who continue to tweak and push the envelope for continuous improvements. 

Was Steve Jobs any less effective as a Senior Citizen than he was as a younger employee?  At 57 years of age Steve Jobs was even more intense and driven than he was in his younger years.  As his successes grew so did his work capacity—ever increasing his influence, network and income.  And if it were not for an irreversible uniquely devastating health condition—he’d still be on the job and making a difference.

BTW--senior health, stamina and longevity are vastly improving particularly over the past twenty-years.  And the graying of America is more dramatic now because of medical advances and healthy lifestyles.  You may also be interested in knowing that physically challenging activities are sprouting all over the country, and globally, for seniors.  I invite you to locate in your city, state and region, Marathons, Half Marathons,  Masters Track & Field and/or Senior Olympic competitions happening all over the country.  You will see seniors competing at very high physical levels suggesting a fitness and competitiveness never before seen in this country.

Finally, the fact that there is a growing population of seniors and the devastating reversal of fortunes in the worst economy in recent history has major ramifications.  Among those will be postponed retirements which will keep and require more older workers to stay engaged or re-engage with their career trek.  In my view this is a boon for employers who will continue to seek the best available candidates for employment.  The very best will include older men and women with a proven track record of success.


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