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Why The Age Discrimination On Jobs?

I would like to jumpstart this discussion on why employers both public and private in Nigeria discriminate against some graduates on the grounds of age. I think it's time for us to call the attention of our law makers to this hydra-headed monster that has deprived so many young people of pursuing their careers in their chosen disciplines. Worthy of note is the moribund educational system in Nigeria that ensures young people don't graduate early enough to meet the unrealistic requirements of companies vis-a-vis age. In a country where an average student graduates at between 27 and 29 years of age and adding the trouble of NYSC to it, they're not ready for the labour market until around between 28 and 30. Given the "ideal" entry level age of between 22 and 25 most companies ask for today, there's a need for a wake up call. In the U.K. and other developed countries, no employer discriminates on the grounds of age. All they want is the value you can add to their going concerns even if you're 50. Nigerians, let's getting talking about it.

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omo-fat,

I havent said it was right, neither have i condoned it. But I personally see it as a consequence from actions/inactions in a larger picture. I believe if the demand and supply was tipped in favour of demand, then all else would self correct.

By putting and age barrier, an employer cuts the number of cv's/resume's they will recieve by half. Trust me, having to seive through 10000 resumes for 3 vacancies can be daunting. The very first step you would rather take is to reduce the number of resumes you recieve from the start.

The argument is also made that the younger an employee is, the easier it is for the iindividual to be molded and made to imbibe company/corporate cultures (this is mostly for entry level type positions tho')

In as much as i dont think it is right, i dont think the change can me mad at this level. You can't tell/force employers to remove the age barrier. If you do (even through Legislation) they will still look for other ingenious ways to drop prospective employees. More jobs, at par with supply or surpassing the supply is what i believe is the only sustainable way to combat this.

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I have been reading these comments so far and you guys are not far from the truth. However, I must point out something you guys are failing to acknowledge here. Some multinational organizations do not put up this age barrier in their job adverts. They are looking for highly skilled individuals as they do not want to go through the experience required in training green horns fresh from the university, even if they do, they have to put them on a low wage scheme to match their individual skill sets. Again, no matter what you study in the university, when you get employed, you still need to go through the basic training required of you to perform your job efficiently. I for one is an example, I studied for a degree in Pharmacy and now work for a pharmaceutical giant but had to go through series of on the job training 80% of what I never did in my 5 yrs of University (eg IT applications, as everything is done electronically) and 1 yr of postgraduate degree. My point is that if you have the required skill set which an organization requires urgently, they'll still hire you even if you are 50yrs old. The underlying truth is that in Nigeria there are too many people gunning for the same job with virtually no much difference in skill set, that is one of the reasons employers put up this age barrier to selectively eliminate some applicants. One of my friends got hired for a job in Nigeria at 37yrs cos of his vast experience and skill set. So guys, whatever field of endeavour you find yourself, try to acquire and develop a lot of skills, you wouldnt know where you'll need it later in life. Dont get me wrong, I do not support this age barrier thing in job adverts because they are illegal. Recruitment and hence salary should be based on qualification, experience and skill sets. period

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Fair point Le Moor. Whilst it may be true that the forces of demand and supply are at work, it still doesnt make it right. Would a shortage of jobs suddenly make it okay to discriminate on the basis of race or gender ?

I suppose the obvious solution is to increase the number of jobs being created and give everyone a fair shot at getting them.

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NOT ONLY THAT MA SELF THE ISSUE OF EXPERIENCE B4 GETTING SHOULD BE LOOK INTO AS TOPIC WHERE DO EMPLOYERS WANT PEOPLE TO GET THE EXPERIENCE FROM IF NOT FROM THEM. WALAHI AM NOT HAPPY AT ALL.

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In this case, I wont blame the employers. it is a simple case of Demand and Supply. There are too many graduates competing for few jobs. In such instances, HR starts devicing first level barriers to eliminate from the pool of job seekers. Criteria like age, grades (2:1, 1st class req) then come into play. Age Discrimination is the easiest to adopt since the system helps wittling and ensuring Nigerian grads dont finish school before they are 22 (with all the general stikes, internal strikes and NYSC adding atleast 2yrs to the age of readiness for employment. This only follows common sense.

If the economy was buoyant and jobs were being created at the same pace or faster than available hands, age discrimination would be thrown out of the door. The same principles of demand and supply made countries like the UK and US to look to foreign experts to help meet the demand for jobs being created. Trend the requirements for getting HSMP 7yrs ago to the requirments for getting HSMP now, you wold notice the glaring barriers been put in place.

Bottomline is if there are enough jobs being created, employers would be begging and enticing from the available pool, rather than trying to sieve them.

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This is a common occurrence in our society and i wanted to say here without mincing words that our policy is really killing us hence there is no traces of any changes in a decade or century to come. This is because we are currently facing a crucial period where unemployment rate in the country will get to a point of "no return" if drastic measures are not in place. Those at the helm of affairs need to discussed this issue and stop chasing shadows, I rest ma case.

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@ War Horse,

You and a couple of others have made real sense of this issue so far. I say it again, Nigeria should change through this medium.

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Too bad. What a pathetic country

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One reason why employer discriminate is that they still have that outdated mindset that when that hire someone, that person will remain with them for "perpetuity" (abi, watin you say make I talk). Take a statistics, how many employee want to remain in their current place of work? Gone are the days when company manage personnel (The person). Now, companies can only manage the human resource in a person and thats only for so long as the persons wishes to supply it. Personnel Management is gone. Human Resource Management is here and employers have no claim to it for a life time.

Rather than discriminate with regards to age, HR departments and Managers should start to re-think their hiring strategy. My suggestions (Interestingly, I am in HR department were I work).

1. The first year of work of a new staff should be a one year contract (If s/he does not perform, discontinue with him or her)

2. Hiring cost? what is your computer technology doing? Idle? Computer technology and the internet is reducing the cost of hiring. So that should not be a too much pain for re-hiring if the previous fails to perform. Its already happening in project based companies in Nigeria. I work in one. I was taken because of my skill and at an age well above 26. Operations base companies can redefine their by creating a hybrid from both.

HR Manager and policy makes, help stop the cradle-to-work falsifications and the degenerating impart it is having on our educational system.

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Unfortunately we do not have a functioning Labour Union this issue should have been raised long time ago by NLC with the House of Assembly but because top members of the NLC are rather busy taking care of their pockets they'll have no time for issue like this.

each time I see job adverts in Nigeria which states specifically that they want only applicants of certain age bracket It makes me boil with anger because obviously i see it as a criminal offence to discriminate against ppl based on their age or for any other reasons. As someone has stated earlier even companies of international repute who should be setting good example are practising the same discrimination and its a shame on them and their top management for allowing this discrimination to continue unchallenged.

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It's not exactly a question of whether you want to inject fresh blood into your company or not. Who says a 35 or 40 year old is not fresh blood when it comes to deliverying on the job, who says a 20 or 22 year old is more intelligent or subservient or easily subjected to the manipulations of employers? It's a question of fairness and equity especially given the realities on ground in Nigeria. If Nigeria will change for good, there are some fundamentals we need to address. A system that encourages people to lie about everything will not go too far. Even the companies that demand unrealistic criteria for jobs don't last long because if someone lied about their age they are likely to lie on matters on the job. The reason why people don't lie when seeking employment here in the U.K. or other developed countries of the world is because their governments have made employment discrimination on the grounds of age illegal and a serious crime. Matter of factly, people claim damages on companies here for discriminating against them on the grounds of age or race. Change we want, change we need. Yes we can, we can change for the good of all!

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Posted by: okeymadu

The graduates of 70,s - early 90,s were better developed than the present age graduates, most of them are not ready to do self development. How did things start falling apart for our edu systems. I need an ans.

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It should be illegal to discriminate based on age. There are good reasons to hire both a young person and a mature person, so each employer can work those out themselves. The bottomline is except it is a training position, the job should go to whoever performs best during the selection process. Out and out discrimination is (should be) illegal.

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I really appreciate the contributions so far, but the discussion should not end here, it should hit the tabloids and newspapers. Employers are missing out on talents that could turn the fortunes of their companies around for good because of the age discrimination disease. Let the discussion continue. Many thanks to all panelists.

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it aint no discrimination, it's business, and the blood of any business is profits / cashflow. tell me, y should i employ an adult with liabilities wen there r millions of youngsters out there ready to d same job even for less. as long as they can both do the same thing. i'm better off employing a young blood. you have more than enough control over them. tell me, does ur dad still smack you?

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I am not shocked that a very sensitive topic like this is not gettiing enough attention.It goes a long way to show the mentality of our people.There are lots of irregularities in our recruitment process.Take for example,IT vacancies.Its now a common thing for employers to ask for a 1st degree in compt science when we know for sure that such things like oracle,ccna,comptia a+,web design,java and a lot others are not taught in the university.Such courses are taught by private IT schools and dont reqiure a 1st degree in comp sc. to be a guru.The age thing.I studied ccna and comptia a+ @30 but came out best in the class where i was considered old and distracted cos i has business running.Its really a sad situation we have here in this country.We are bias in several ways that does not allow meritocracy to thrive.I rest my case!

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The reason for age discrimination is simple. Our universities don’t equip graduates with the needed skills in today’s market.

I had the opportunity to interface with homo sapiens in the developed world during a recent company sponsored programme and found out that there was a lot of skill gap between the two graduates (Developed and underdeveloped countries products (graduates)) when placed side-by-side

So, to answer this question: the companies need to virtually re-train the graduates over again and it is said that you can’t learn to write with your left hand when you are already a grown up…

So they need o “catch” these graduates when they are still young within our context …

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Hmmm ,

They think that if you graduate at 21, that means you are brilliant and that the 30 year old graduate struggled a lot with SSCE and JAMB and can be questioned as regards his intelligence. This is a fallacy of generalization and has no concrete backing though we can say it applies in some situation.

This has forced a lot of people to change their age several times. U will be shocked at the number of people around you who have reduced their ages. It didnt start now, even our parents are guilty of it. In their own cases, they know that the retirement age is 55, hence a need to push their retirement further. For example, a 30 year old man just joining the civil service has 25 years to work, so he will prefer to become a 25 year old to have 5 more years.

Lack of proper record systems is the cause of all this. It is just unfortunate that the society provides too many avenues to make its citizens liars. And that is why I ask people to check themselves before criticizing our age grade national teams when they lie. It is all around us/

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It is rather unfortunate but that is the reality on ground and it is not about to change simply for the following reasons

1: Human Capital (Staff) is employed as an operational expense intended to run the company to enhance profits. The younger staff will run for  much longer (before marriage and kids and accompanying costs and headaches to the company) and is therefore value for money

2: When the company makes money, they pay bonuses, when they don't they still pay salaries without reflecting the fact that they made losses.

3: Younger, fresh-out from university have more energy, different motivation to work and need experience more than any other incentive (this is good for the company) Older ones are motivated mostly by money and need more security, work less hours (unless you are paying for overtime) and have wife and kids on Health Schemes that the company pays for.

4: Younger, detached staff can be re-deployed endlessly unlike their older counter-parts.

If you are a graduate over 25 and need tips on getting better jobs, you have to move your job search up a notch and also your qualifications.

Go for a Masters or MBA (I know, cash is a problem) but that is the only way, When you are done, seek for a low-paying internship with a very large company, they really love highly-qualified people for low pay for the short-term. that is where you build on your experience and if you are good, it could be a permanent -well paying job for you

Take heart, at the rate this country is going, we'll see fresh graduates at 35yrs old then we'll wonder what to do with them

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Important topic like this should make it to the front page.

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I am shocked that I am the first to respond to this issue. Its a very important issue which should be taken seriously

why employers both public and private in Nigeria discriminate against some graduates on the grounds of age ?

The answer can be traced to the past . up-till the 1990s, public and private companies were required to pay pensions and gratuities. These were tokens for appreciation of the year of work a persons may have put in during his/her service with a company. Employers back then felt the longer a staff can stay with the company, the farther it takes the responsibilities of pensions and gratuities away. Younger employees where favored by this assumption.

Furthermore, There was and is the notion that younger to-be employees had modern knowledge compared to the older. I don't see the truth in this anyway. But its said to be one of the reason for age discrimination amongst employers.

Additionally, employers want employee with "longer life expectancy" so that learned experience will stay longer within the company of establishment.

There also is a psychological front to this employer behavior. employer and in-standing older employees want persons that will be loyal to manipulations. Nigeria is an age sensitive country. When a manager is far younger than his subordinates, the tendency that there will be friction in the flow of authority, loyalty and work is perceived inevitable.

These employer-learned behavior has become hardwired in the hiring system in Nigeria. It was and still is supported by the outdated but still-in-use organizational structure of authoritarian-hierarchy. That worked when knowledge was with a few and that few had to influence the knowing,following and doing of work. Today, we live in a global knowledge economy- a world where knowledge is becoming free, translating into a right for everyone. This development alone should change the requirements of hiring in Nigeria.

But there is something I am yet to fix - It is in the air of the Nigerian atmosphere that change is not a constant? I am shocked that even international-status companies like Pricewaterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Ryan Kimberley, Accenture etc are still in tune with this old order of hiring.

Age discrimination in hiring is illegal in western countries. Its unrealistic here in Nigeria. The foundations that supported it are no more. Employees are no longer tied to one company for a life time. They move from one to another as dictated by financial benefit, career goals and other factors. The younger the employee, the more likely he/she will leave to another company. The Nigerian pension policy is now centralized and accommodates more than one place of work in the career years of an individual. Work organizations are becoming flat as knowledge circulated everywhere. Age and position power no longer rules. Knowledge power rules and knowledge knows no age.

Corporate employers are to be change initiators in Nigeria. They should re-think age limits with regards to hiring. There are not being fair to Nigeria and Nigerians. With a limits of 26 years with 3 to 5 years experience, There incite fraudulent age declarations. They incite crime not only against the law but against so many human conscience that a stifled to incline to this crime. They are a means to a criminal end which is totally uncalled for.

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