Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday January 29th 2019

51-year-old PMET lost his job as hiring manager and reflecting on the age-bias hiring criterion

Hi Gilbert

I am a 51-year-old PME who  just got retrenched from my hiring manager position. There are some things I would like to share here.

As a hiring manager, my role is to employ people who fit the jobs advertised.

When I look at the stack of applications, to be frank with you, anyone above 35 applying for administration job position will not be considered based on my own measurement.

You can say that I am very subjective and individualistic but if I have that perception, I think that others will have this perception too.

I have a very quick filtering process every time there are job applications. I am not just referring to age only of course, experience and skills are taken into consideration as well.

I would not consider those who are not working in this line. For lower to middle management, I can accept people who are less than 40, I think 30+ years old are still alright. 40 years old and above will not be considered.

Why the filtering process?

Right or wrongfully I tend to have the perception, that everything being equal, a younger candidate would be able to blend into the team better. I wanted to keep a youthful team, my team members are all Generation Y.

In my own opinion, Gen X is harder to blend into the current team of Generation Y.

It is very important to have a cohesive team meaning that the team members must be able to relate to each other.

Generally a younger candidate tends to be more proactive. The younger candidate is more bubbly and outgoing.

When we go for business development, they tend to relate better to the client. Compared to a 40+ or 50+ year old PME, they may have the spirit I want.

I mean you need to market yourself, you need to develop that rapport and build that kind of relationship with the customer.

You need to bubbly, proactive, you need to speak, joke with them and make them comfortable with you. My perception is that the older people are more conservative and tend to be less proactive and harder to relate to the customers.

Older people’s mindset is more rigid. I do have people in the team who response to me, “This is not the way we do you know, in the past we do it this and that way.”

When I tell them something. I replied, “You already say that was in the past right, the past is already past.” They are not happy. But it is a fact that, why are you measuring what you are doing now with the past?

You cannot apply a set of procedures that was carried out in the past today, you need to see the relevance of today’s context. If it is not the best approach now, shouldn’t we modify and remove it and change to something that suit today’s context?

But unfortunately, in today’s context, for the older candidates, they are more resistant to change.

For the younger one, they replied, “Let’s do it and let’s try!”

Who would you prefer as a hiring manager?

I am a very open minded person, I never stick to my own views, to me I don’t think that the views that I have could result in the best way in doing something.

So normally I would hear other people’s views first before I decide something. Although I am not young, I am a receptive person.

The general perception is that the older candidate is not receptive, we can’t live in the past anymore, we need to look forward.

But I do still give some older candidates chances for the interview as their experiences and skills match the job role requirement but during the interview, they are very reactive.

They kept replying, “Yes, yes.. ahh like that.” Imagine

If I bring this person to meet the customer, what would happen.

I am looking for a person who can market my products, outspoken, bubbly. You may be very good at the technical knowledge, but so what? You cannot even get a business for me, what is the point?

If I have the perception, I would think that other prospective employer they also would have the same views towards this issue too.

Right now I am unemployed and I face back the same issue during the job search. Age is an issue and another problem is job fit. I always think that employers would see a 80% fit between a job and a candidate. I learn through many career coaches is that 100% fit is needed.

I have already sent out 20 resumes, some of them went through the recruitment agencies to the prospective employers, but they felt that there is no 100% fit. So it is a bit of a challenge now for my job search.

I really hope that the government can render more help for the unemployed. I notice that during this period, many people want to work. It is not true that they don’t want to work but they want to work just that they can’t find any job. I came across and spoke to a lot of people, they actually said that they want to work but cannot find a job.

This is really very depressing for a country. It is a waste of resources. On one hand you say that there is not enough manpower in the workforce, you want to raise the employment age from 65 to 67 and you are encouraging people and housewives to come back from workforce.

I take it as there is a shortage of manpower out there, on the other hand, you have this group of people who are unemployed who want to work but can’t work.

Why can’t the government do something to match this? It would be difficult if all the employers are private institutions, because they are not charity organization, they would still be practical in their recruitment.

Why can’t the government help out? Since they have a lot of ministries, organizations, RCs and town councils, why can’t they set up a platform for Singaporeans, especially the unemployed who want to work but can’t find any jobs to provide job matching for them?


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8 Responses to “51-year-old PMET lost his job as hiring manager and reflecting on the age-bias hiring criterion”

  1. Kamaruzi says:

    If you have been an all-embracing hiring manager and think about the gen-X’s predicament in Singapore—you would have been given the same chance by another hiring manager by now…and maybe you wouldn’t even received a pink-slip after all because gen-Y will be gen-X tomorrow.

  2. Ed57 says:

    It appears that you are self-praising yourself. You claimed to be different from other PME who are over 50 years old as you are receptive and they are not.
    Are you a local degree graduate ?
    Anyway, I never expect Singaporeans to help their peers. That is why they are overrun by 2 million foreigners FT
    BTW, I am 57, overseas grad and I think you are talking crap !

  3. John says:

    To all HR Managers,

    If you are age-biased against hiring older applicants, you are sowing the seed of bad karma which will come back to haunt against you as experienced by Jack now.

    When you, the hiring managers’ children grow old, that is after you have pass on, your children will have to pay back the bad deeds that were sowed by you the hiring managers, who are the parents of these children.

    Good luck to HR hiring managers.

  4. view says:

    Employer budget cannot meet your salary requirement maybe a factor too.

  5. Charles says:

    I am sorry about your situation. But if, as you said, the company’s culture is not conducive to people over 40, you should have planned your own exit years ago. If someone over 40 does not have the “spirit you want”, why do you assume that you yourself have the “spirit” when you are over 50? Perhaps you were very happy that the company was following your own policy when you were dismissed.

  6. having hope says:

    First of all, not all employers think like you used to do. I am above 40, been jobless for more than 8 months till I finally landed a job. Even at this juncture, I have companies and recruitment agencies approaching me for positions and one of them is on the verge of offering me a position. These are MNCs. So for all those above 40, don’t lose hope. It is just timing.

    2nd, Gen Y doesn’t have an advantage over Gen X. I have been working for years and Gen X in general tend to have more sense of responsibility to accomplish the job on hand as compared to Gen Y. Your perception of Gen X not being able to communicate effectively as compared is Gen Y is wrong. Many Gen X people I know have superb communications skills and some are consistent top sales people. In terms of energy, I encounter a Baby Boomer that have more energy than most of the Gen X and Gen Y I know. I can cite many other examples but the crux of the matter is Ability to do the job (for people of similar job experiences), got nothing to do with age and generation.

    Lastly, you are in a situation where you need to pull yourself out of. Thoughts of blaming the government and anyone else is just going to pull you back. Brace yourself, accept the situation you are in and strive harder. I sent out about 300 to 500 applications while I was unemployed, perhaps more, I lost count. You have only send out 20, keep trying, don’t lose hope and channel your energy to positive thoughts. It’s hard, I know, we all know but we can’t let negative energy influence us till we can’t pick ourselves up.

  7. Disappointed says:

    The current government has not done enough to move ahead as a real fair employment country and protect our local employees. It is still very pro employer market as a developed nation.

    These are happening in my companies:
    Prefer foreigners to do simple administrative jobs where we received so many good local resumes. Why issue work pass when they are locals to do it?

    Make job scope difficult so that older staffs are being forced to resign on their own. Older workers have no choice to be compensated by the contractual one-month notice and left. Jobless for months and even years.

    Even government offices and agencies are giving priority to younger staff. They cited job incompetency etc.

    Once a hiring manager asked: you are over 50, how often you see doctor? Any medical issues?
    Are you parents still living? If so, how often you have to stay at home and look after them?
    Ageism is an issue.

    They fire PMEs at contract of will by giving the contractual notice. Government should protect and legislate proper process but we are not well protected… Our labour law is still ways in the region despite recent minimal changes.

    Once a 50-year PME mentioned that he does not mind lowering from the director level to manager rank and even an ordinary staff position. Monthly salary of $15k to $5k or less drop in the salary to have a job with his or her experience. Hiring manager cited mismatch of competency level. Ageism is the real concern.

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