Larry Killens weighs in on hiring seniors over teens

To the Expositor:

As recent as yesterday, September 6, the major media including CBC, CTV, and Global put a spin in the news that seniors are pushing teens aside for much needed summer jobs. I hasten to criticize the major media and accuse them of slanting and evading the true story. A note here: For the most part the media specifies “Summer Jobs.” An accurate statement would be that the seniors are taking and applying for full time jobs where available and when available. Second choice is a part time job for summer only but will accept part time if available.

First, has anyone bothered to questioned as to why our seniors in their twilight years want to work and why or even need to work?

Who is doing the hiring of seniors in lieu of teens? Seniors certainly do not tell industry who to hire. Seniors go up against supposed young, eager, willing workers and fresh out of, or in school with up to date skills. Ask industry. I did! I called human resources offices of Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s and Wendy’s for their thoughts on the poorly reported observations of the media. As a result of their responses, I have come to my own conclusions but ask you to consider the following and come to a conclusion yourself. As well, just recently, last week the media stated that Canadian households have returned to their free-spending ways and seniors have joined the party lately by borrowing to finance their post-retirement lifestyles. I do not think you would hear a senior or anyone for that matter calling debt a party. Here is a weird suggestion. If anyone, even a senior has debt, you think one would seek out a paying job to meet that debt? Wouldn’t you?

The major companies hiring seniors over teens! I ask, is it because one group over another has better work ethics? I ask, is it because one group, teens or seniors have established a culture of being willing to work and are more dependable than the other? Seniors, who have felt the sting of doing without and experience of seeing their take home dollar fade, perhaps have something to do with it? Tax on funerals, higher taxes on fuel, clothing, food, energy, transportation to name a few. Eroding and ever increasing cost of health coverage and drug purchases. Cost of education for a senior’s family and giving their family a financial boost or start in life.

Some service providing industries may claim that our teens are not bothering to apply for available jobs in their industry. They claim that teens do not show a desire to work! In part, that is crap! Here is a suggested answer. Do not fault our teens. A major amount of teens have drawn the line and will not accept poverty wage. They have learned from and are no different than the union member who is walking the picket line. Learned behaviour? Is this wrong or right? You be the judge. Seniors pick up the void even at these meager wages. They do so in desperation to make ends meet. Industry is not dumb and picks up on the needs of our seniors. Seniors left by a government that is slashing and burning a quality of life they, seniors themselves, worked to have when they retired. Seniors reported for work and paid more than their fair share of taxes to government coffers. The ensuing waste of their monies they paid government are urinated against a wall by an endless list of allegations of financial miss-handling of both, individual politicians and collectively. Meanwhile, industry takes advantage of this and reports six and seven digit profits yearly. Those teens by the way are the grandchildren of our seniors.

I often use a quote that, “A penny saved is a government oversight.” Our seniors having to seek out and compete for work says something about how our government, whom the majority of us put there, regard the contributions seniors collectively have made to society.

What is the answer? I do not pretend to have an answer. I say to the media and government, when holding our senior citizens up for ridicule, as Oprah is quoted, “When you don’t know what you are saying, be still. Get very still, until you do know what you are talking about.”

Larry Killens
South Baymouth