I'M CONTEMPLATING applying for my fifty-first job. It’s been a long time since I wasted stamp money this way. In fact, when I reached the fiftieth without success I decided to abandon job-hunting and got out my pen to scratch a living instead.
But there's another wildly exciting job in the paper today, «salary £12,5—£16,250 according to age and experience». The good news is the pay, the bad news is that damning little phrase «according to age and experience» which means I won't get the job.
It’s not that I have more age than experience — I've led an incident-packed existence. Unfortunately it's not all related to a single-strand career structure. Journalist, temp, company director, wife and mother, market researcher, and now, at thirty- something, I'm trying to use my Cambridge degree in criminology.
I'm a victim of the sliding payscale. Employers can obtain a fresh 22-year-old graduate to train a lot cheaper than me. Yet I'm the ideal employee: stable, good-humoured, child-bearing behind me, looking for 25-plus years of steady pensionable employment.
Ageism is everywhere. It's much more prevalent than sexism in the job market, or that's how it seems from where I'm standing. Even the BBC is a culprit. Their appointments brochure says: «The BBC's personnel policies are based on equal opportunities for all ... This applies to ... opportunity for training and promotion, irrespective of sex, marital status, creed, colour, race or ethnic origin, and the BBC is committed to the development and promotion of such equality of opportunity. Traineeships ... are available to suitably qualified candidates under the age of 25.»
Ageism is lagging behind sexism, racism and handicappism because even the oppressed seem to accept the discrimination. The public and private sectors are obsessed with attracting young high-flyers. Yet there are many professions that would benefit from the maturity and stability the older entrant can bring. This is recognized by the Probation Service, for example, who welcome experienced adults looking for a second career.
The armed services and police, perhaps, could think about strenuous aptitude and fitness tests rather than imposing a blanket upper limit on entrants which is arbitrarily and variously fixed between 28 and 33. The administrative grade of the Civil Service assumes the rot sets in at 32.
My own pressing concern is to alleviate my guilt. I loved every minute of my university education, and I'm desperately grateful to the Government for financing me through this at a cost of over £10,000. But unless someone gives me a job, how can I pay them back in income tax?
Decide whether statements 1 to 10 are true □ or false □, according to the article.
1. The writer is over forty years old. □
2. She gave up applying for jobs some time ago. □
3. She has not had much experience of working for
a living. □
4. Employers think that someone of her age is too
expensive to employ. □
5. She needs a job so that she can support her family. □
6. People don't get as angry about ageism as about
other forms of discrimination. □
7. Employers are looking for bright, ambitious people
of any age. □
8. More mature employees would be valuable assets
to many professions. □
9. People in their thirties can't get jobs in government
10. She wants to 'repay' the State for her university
HAVE A NICE DAY*
EMPLOYEE LOYALTY IN SERVICE FIRMS
Hotel, shop and restaurant chains, which employ thousands of people in low-paid, dead-end jobs, are discovering that high labour turnover rates resulting from the indiscriminate hiring of «cheap» workers can be extremely costly.
Cole National, a Cleveland-based firm which owns Child World, Things Remembered and other speciality shops, declared a «war for people» in an effort to recruit and keep better staff.
Employees were asked: What do you enjoy about working here? In the past year, have you thought about leaving? If so, why? How can we improve our company and create an even better place to work? Employees replied they wanted better training, better communications with their supervisors and, above all, wanted their bosses to «make me feel like I make a difference». Labour turnover declined by more than half; for full time sales assistants, it declined by about a third.
Marriott Corporation, a hotels and restaurants group, has also decided to spend more money on retaining employees in the hope of spending less on finding and training new ones. In one year, it had to hire no fewer than 27,000 workers to fill 8,800 hourly- paid job slots.
To slow its labour turnover, Marriott had to get a simple message accepted throughout its operating divisions: loyal, well motivated employees make customers happy and that, in turn, creates fatter profits and happier shareholders. Improved training of middle managers helped. So did a change in bonus arrangements.
At the same time, Marriott became more fussy about the people it recruited. It screened out job applicants motivated mainly by money: applicants which the company pejoratively described as «pay first people». Such people form a surprisingly small, though apparently disruptive, part of the service-industry workforce. Marriott found in its employee-attitude surveys that only about 20% of its workers at Roy Rogers restaurants and about 30% of its workers at Marriott hotels regarded pay as their primary reason for working there.
Many middle managers in service industries are more comfortable coping with demands for more money than with demands for increased recognition and better communications. They win have to change their ways. Surveys say that when 13,000 employees in retail shops across America were asked to list in order the 18 reasons for working where they did, they ranked «good pay» third. In first place was «appreciation of work done», with «respect for me as a person» second.
Fill in the gaps with appropriate words from the text.
1. Many workers in service industries are ……… badly and
their work is ………
2. Service firms with large numbers of low-paid workers often have a high staff ………
3. Cole National conducted a ……… among its staff, because
they wanted to recruit and ……… better workers.
4. Staff replied that they wanted their managers to show that they
5. Marriott discovered that customers are happier when the
staff are ……… and ……… motivated. They found that most of their workers were ……… mainly motivated by pay.
6. For most US workers pay is the ……… most important reason for job satisfaction.