retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Bloomberg has a story about how it is harder than ever for teenagers to get jobs working in fast food restaurants - because those jobs are being taken by senior citizens.

According to the story, “Restaurants are recruiting in senior centers and churches. They’re placing want ads on the website of AARP, an advocacy group for Americans over 50. Recruiters say older workers have soft skills - a friendly demeanor, punctuality - that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.”

Furthermore, the story says, “Two powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working - even part-time - to supplement often-meager retirement savings.”

Indeed, Bloomberg writes that “hiring seniors is a good deal for fast-food chains. They get years of experience for the same wages - an industry median of $9.81 an hour last year, according to the BLS - they would pay someone decades younger. This is a considerable benefit in an industry under pressure from rising transportation and raw material costs.”

And, “Seniors typically have more developed social skills than kids who grew up online and often would rather not be bothered with real-world interactions.”

I guess I only have one reaction to this - that maybe in this environment, we need to soft referring to social skills as “soft skills.” Because they seem pretty critical to me, and maybe it is time people have their Eyes Opened about that.
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