You are on page 1of 1


Yet that’s what it takes
to get an employer’s atten-
tion in an era of online ap-
plications, said Kyle Hous-
ton, San Diego branch
manger for Robert Half
Technology, a staffing and
consulting firm.
“My first bit of advice is
to stop applying through
job boards,” he said. “That
whole adage, it’s not what
you know but who you
know, still rings true. You
have to have someone sell-
ing you and your experience
or you have to have the abil-
ity to sell yourself to some-
one, but not through an on-
line job ad.”
Mike Barlow is doing
just that.
Barlow, who turns 57
soon, took a buyout pack-
age from Nokia in June 2017
after leading a software ac-
count management team
covering North and South
He has been working to
create a network at bigger
companies in the defense
and biotech fields. He also
has tapped into the region’s
startup community, joining
the San Diego Venture
Group and volunteering as
an Entrepreneur in Resi-
dence at Connect, a non-
profit that helps startups.
Even though Barlow ap-
pears to be making the
right moves in his job
search, it has been a slow
Defense companies
BILL WECHTER often want workers with
specific experience and an
U.S. labor force participation rates
While older workers represent a smaller share of the
“The demand for cash flow is a lot active security clearance.
Biotech firms also seek a
specific skill set.
workforce than their younger counterparts, the
percentage of those 55 and older who are either bigger when you’re 35 and have two And Barlow has gotten
“a little bit of a sense” that
working or looking for work has been steadily growing his experience is working
since the mid-1990s. Over the last decade, though, that
growth has slowed.
young kids. But for somebody like against him — at least on

me, I have flexibility. I can take a “They’re concerned
about fit,” he said. “Is this
guy going to want support

80% 83.5%
chance on something.” staff? Look at his maturity.
He is not going to want to
dig in and do the things we
Mike Barlow, 56, who took a buyout from Nokia last year need him to do. He is going
55-64 and is tapping into the region’s startup community to want to be at a different
64.5% level, a different job.”
But Barlow — and many
55.9% 16-24 55.5% didn’t ask that question. He seekers said that age bias in longer — one of the best op- older workers who held
was hired as project man- the job search is a fact of life tions for keeping the na- high-level jobs — are not
ager for a private-sector in the workplace. tion’s labor force vibrant. necessarily married to find-
firm that handles the gov- Laurie McCann, senior That’s important be- ing a position equivalent to
ernment permitting proc- attorney with the AARP cause labor force participa- the one they left. Barlow be-
ess for small cellular broad- Foundation, said employ- tion among younger work- lieves working for an Inter-
65-74 26.9% casting devices throughout ers these days are savvy ers — ages 16 to 24 — has net of Things startup would
San Diego. enough to “not leave the been declining since the be a “wonderful opportuni-
16.4% 75-79 80+ “When I got out of the smoking gun around” that 1990s. Moreover, prime age ty.”
11.4% Marine Corps and got my would clearly show age dis- employment for workers “If you look at somebody
6.1% 6.0% master’s, I took some hu- crimination, but that ages 25 to 54 has been stag- like me, my kids are out,” he
0% 2.5% man resources graduate doesn’t mean there aren’t nant for most of the past said. “The demand for cash
1990s 2000s 2010s classes — so what you ask more subtle instances of decade. It was not until this flow is a lot bigger when
and do not ask in inter- ageism in the hiring proc- year that jobs in this age you’re 35 and have two
55-plus workers continue to grow views,” he said. “I guess the
observation I have, without
“Some indications are
group finally returned to
pre-recession levels.
young kids. But for some-
body like me, I have flexibil-
The number of 55-plus workers continued to grow, even crying a sea of tears, is asking that people be re- Meanwhile, the leading ity. I can take a chance on
during the recession, when workers aged 25 to 54 saw there’s subtle discrimi- cent graduates. We’re also edge of the baby boom gen- something.”
their numbers take a dip. Only recently has the volume nation for older folks going seeing some jobs where eration — 76 million people Tom Middleton, the for-
of younger workers returned to pre-recession levels. back into the workforce.” people have to be a digital born between 1946 and 1964 mer software engineering
Proving it, though, is dif- native, which is someone — is 72 years old. manager who is now a bus
120,000 (In thousands) Great Recession ficult, especially so in in- who grew up using the In- “Ten thousand baby driver, said he understood
stances where someone ternet,” McCann said. boomers are retiring every at the time he was looking
Ages 16-54 does not get hired for a job A 61-year-old San Diego day,” said Weinstock of for a job that interpersonal
100,000 100,417 and age bias is the sus- man who lost his job last AARP. “That’s a company’s networking was important
pected reason. November after 14 years institutional knowledge but concedes he isn’t espe-
84,229 Often cited as evidence said he saw subtle indica- walking out the door. Com- cially good at it.
80,000 that age discrimination tions of ageism in the post- panies need to think about He’s also come to realize
does indeed exist is re- layoff counseling he re- that. How are they going to that another technology-
search conducted by a trio ceived from an employment transfer that knowledge to related job is not likely in his
60,000 of economists who in 2015 services agency. He re- somebody else?” future, especially given the
sent out some 40,000 appli- quested anonymity be- gap in his résumé, but there
cations with fictitious ré- cause of concerns sur- Job searching are times when he still
40,000 36,346 sumés for about 13,000 rounding his employment moves online holds out hope.
largely low-skilled posi- search in San Diego. For some older work- “I do look at the internal
14,572 55 and older tions, such as retail sales He was advised to edit ers, particularly those employment boards and
20,000 clerks, janitors and admin- his work experience on his who worked for one com- think maybe something
istrative assistants. The ré- résumé, restricting it to the pany for many years, sud- would come up that I could
sumés were nearly identical most recent jobs, and was denly trying to find work sell them on,” Middleton
0 except for age and gender. told to eliminate dates on again is daunting. The job said.
It turned out that call- his résumé — even the year search process has moved Middleton was fortu-
1990s 2000s 2010s back rates were higher he graduated from college. online, with job boards nate to find an employer
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; FRED DANIEL WHEATON U-T among younger applicants That is not so easy to do, such as Indeed and that sees the value of a more
than their older counter- though, when applying on- ZipRecruiter making it mature workforce.
parts, providing “compel- line for a job, McCann said. easy to find and apply for Among the more than
ling evidence that older “We also see online job all sorts of jobs. 500 bus drivers the San Di-
Average weekly unemployment workers experience age dis- applications where you can’t But often these efforts ego Metropolitan Transit
crimination in hiring in the submit it unless you put on a prove fruitless, with no System employs directly,
duration, by age in 2017 Average lower-skilled types of jobs date of graduation or date of feedback whatsoever to ap- roughly half are over 50.
the experiment covers,” the birth,” McCann said. “AARP plicants, according to sev- “Generally employees in
16-19 12.5 authors said. is fighting to change those eral older workers who this age group have more
Instances of age dis- practices. We also have our spoke to the Union-Trib- stability in their lives,” said
20-24 18 crimination were most no- own case we’re litigating on une. Paul Jablonski, CEO of
25-34 23 ticeable among older wom- behalf of a person who ap- Kim Selznick, 64, MTS. “In all jobs, but in par-
en, said co-author David plied for a position that said worked as an accountant/ ticular for a bus operator,
35-44 25.3 Neumark, economics pro- it required five to seven years administrator for an alter- which involves a lot of cus-
45-54 31.2 fessor at UC Irvine and a of experience — and no more native investment firm for tomer interaction, having a
visiting scholar at the Fed- than seven years’ experi- the past 21 years. As the wealth of work/life experi-
55-64 36.6 eral Reserve Bank of San ence.” firm’s assets under man- ences is also a valuable as-
Francisco. Age discrimination agement declined, she set to have in your work-
65+ 38.5 Still, Neumark acknowl- complaints filed with the knew her job was in jeopar- force.”
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics DANIEL WHEATON U-T edged that proof of dis- Equal Employment Oppor- dy. Scripps Health in San
crimination remains elu- tunity Commission, or In April, she was laid off. Diego has been recognized
sive, probably more so dur- EEOC, totaled more than While she is still doing some by AARP and Retiremen-
productivity is generally as- ing for work recently. After ing a healthy economy. 18,000 last year, although consulting work for the for employing
sociated with wages; that is, 21 years in the Marines, “My point is simply, it’s the number has been trend- firm, she has started her job older workers. One-third of
the more you can produce Locke earned a master’s de- complicated,” Neumark ing downward since the re- search, and it has been frus- its 15,000-employee work-
the more you will get paid. gree in business manage- said. “It’s better to be an old- cession when they peaked trating. force is 50 years or older.
Lower wages among older ment from San Diego State er worker now than it was in at more than 24,000. It is not “I am applying online for Eighty-three percent of
individuals may also reflect University and started a 2010, and it’s better to be a atypical for such com- all sorts of things and actu- these employees work full
people switching to less in- second career working for black worker and an ex-felon plaints to ebb and flow with ally have signed up with time. And among its 2,500
tensive jobs.” San Diego County in the because employers have the economic cycle. three recruiting agencies, new hires last year, 12 per-
She is less convinced, early 2000s. fewer workers to choose Victoria Lipnic, acting too,” said Selznick of Vista. cent were 50-plus.
though, that the data sug- In June of last year, he from to hire. But it’s about chairwoman of the EEOC, “I’m not getting much from Scripps seeks to hire
gests age discrimination. retired as real estate tele- the employment cycle, so acknowledged as much in a them. I don’t know for sure people with the best skill
“An economist would ar- communications devel- right now it’s a little easier for June report marking the what is happening, if it’s set for the job regardless of
gue that age discrimination opment project manager, these workers finding work, 50th anniversary of the Age just an age thing.” age, said Eric Cole, corpo-
should not exist, that when took a few months off and but we’re at the end of a very Discrimination in Employ- Selznick sees “a lot of the rate vice president of hu-
an employer wants the best then began looking for work long recovery.” ment Act, which covers in- same jobs over and over man resources. For some
person at the best price again. Nonetheless, there re- dividuals 40 and over. again” posted online, in- positions, that means look-
they’re not going to willy- During a few of the six in- mains a strong perception “Today, jobs are plenti- cluding ones where she’s ing for someone with deep
nilly use age unless it’s re- terviews he had, Locke said among the graying work- ful and conditions are much applied without hearing experience in narrow fields,
lated to something else cor- he was asked how he would force that their age is work- more favorable for finding back. which typically attracts
related with worker pro- interact with younger work- ing against them. new jobs compared to 10 “It was suggested that I older applicants.
ductivity and they have ers. A 2017 survey commis- years ago,” she stated. “But, get on LinkedIn, find peo- “We have found, since a
nothing else to go on,” Terry “I thought it was odd, sioned by AARP found that there is one constant for to- ple to connect with, then majority of our jobs are
said. “It’s probably not and I have to wonder if three in five workers over day’s 54-year-old and the find people that they are clinical, there is a sweet
them being ageist.” younger workers were also age 45 — or 61 percent — one from 10 years ago — age connected with,” she said. spot that this age group fits
asked how they would in- have either experienced or discrimination.” “That is where I have a hard into,” Cole said.
Proving age teract with older workers,” seen age discrimination in Potential bias against time, asking people for help
discrimination he said. the workplace. In a similar older workers could derail and making those connec-
Greg Locke, 60, said he Locke eventually landed poll by RetirementJob- policies aimed at encourag- tions, promoting myself af- (619) 293-2251
saw signs of bias while look- a job with a company that, 94 percent of job ing baby boomers to work ter being at a job for a long Twitter: @loriweisberg