Wednesday, March 25

Who will the recession favor?

Living Almost Large was discussing a rather controversial article "Under 35? Hurray for the meltdown!" I don't think it was actually meant to be controversial, but it really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I think perhaps a different title would have set the tone differently. (Full disclosure: The author is an ex-coworker of my mother's and they are still in touch. But even beyond that, I think she is a pretty fabulous PF writer.)

Anyway, in her musings about this piece, LAL mentioned that she thought times would be rough for the less experienced, younger generation. "We have the least seniority," she said.

I think that could actually work in most young people's favor. On the one hand, if you have the least seniority, you may be more likely to be fired. But also consider it this way: You are some of the cheapest labor the company has.

Even if you are fired, I wonder if your lack of seniority will make it slightly easier to get a job -- assuming you have some level of work experience in your field. Employers can pay you less because you're less experienced. At the same time, you are more likely to be okay with living on less -- you're less likely to have a mortgage, kids or other major life expenses. In addition, you will have more years left working because of your age. And your overall need to build a career means you're more likely to work harder to prove yourself.

In journalism, it's been the trend for years that newspapers bring in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed reporters straight out of college. They pay them very little and get the journalists to do several people's jobs. This allows them to cut some of the higher-paid people with more experience.

On the other hand, some companies might prefer to keep the people who know what they're doing, rather than pay to train new people. And there's the popular last-in-first-out policy at some companies.

So what do you think? How is your company handling it? Or how would it? What would you do if you were the boss?


Blogger Shtinkykat said...

My coworker's daughter just graduated from college and can't even get an unpaid internship. (Of course, I think it's because she's not aggressively searching, but that's just my opinion.) I think the problem is that more experienced workers are willing to accept a BIG paycut, which can undermine a newbie. In many ways, training someone new is great, since they haven't developed bad habits. On the other hand, training newbies is time consuming and pain. If I was the boss, I hate to say it, but I'd pick the experienced person.

March 26, 2009 at 4:05 AM

Blogger Abby said...


That's true, since I guess these days so many experienced folks are willing to take paycuts. I suppose we'll just see a lot of career folks either barely making ends meet or taking second jobs until this recession clears up a bit.

I still think, though, when it comes to layoffs, experienced people with larger salaries are more likely to get the axe.

March 26, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Blogger Sunflowers said...

There's a lot of tension at our law school; there are VERY few people securing jobs. I have a year left, so I don't feel as stressed, but I've been trying to find something for the summer, and as Shtinkykat mentioned, even unpaid internships are scarce (and I have 5 years law related experience!).

I agree with Shtinkykat - I'd stay with the workers I have, give them paycuts, initiate a hiring freeze. (which means we - the younger generation - are a bit screwed)

Also -

March 26, 2009 at 7:28 PM


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