Web Site Targets Older Job Hunters
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
On Wednesdays, the business report focuses on the workplace. And for older people, getting into the workplace or getting back into the workplace can mean coming up against the unspoken challenge of age discrimination. One recruiter has launched a new Web site designed to help, as Bruce Reznick reports.
BRUCE REZNICK: Richard Manzalina(ph) is in his late 50s, and he's not ready to retire. He used to be vice president of sales and marketing for a beverage company in Connecticut. But he's been out of work for 14 months. He's redone his resume and answered more than a thousand want ads on Monster and CareerBuilder.com. He's even hired job coaches. But so far, he's not even been able to land a solid interview.
RICHARD MANZALINA: And just the total lack of response for jobs I've been applying to where if I wrote the job description, it would fit my resume to a T, and yet I'm not even getting a response.
REZNICK: Like many older job seekers, Richard can't prove that what he's run up against is age discrimination. But it's hard for him to believe that it's not an issue. He says he feels its weight everyday.
MANZALINA: Well, I'll be a liar to say that depression doesn't set in. Your self confidence dwindles rather quickly after one, two, three, four months. And then you start to wonder if you'll ever work again.
REZNICK: But Manzalina recently came across a Web site that's giving him some hope.
STEVEN GREENBERG: Hi, Tracy(ph). It's Steven Greenberg calling from Jobs 4.0. How are you?
REZNICK: Forty-six-year-old Steven Greenberg, a recruiter and human resources expert, is the entrepreneur and guiding force behind jobs 4.0, a sky blue and lime green four-month-old Web site that's dedicated to finding good job opportunities for every older worker who's looking. It was an idea born from experience.
GREENBERG: I found a great candidate who was otherwise perfect for a job, but was knocked out purely for being too senior. And it was such a blatant example of what I have been seen, you know, more subtly over the years. That really was the tipping point for me in wanting to start Jobs 4.0.
REZNICK: While there are a growing number of Web sites catering to older workers, Greenberg insists he's breaking new ground by refusing to list part-time work and searching for companies willing to offer permanent positions.
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REZNICK: Sitting in his study, Greenberg cold-calls and e-mails corporate HR managers. He's selling the gospel of what he calls the new math of our aging workforce.
GREENBERG: There are 76 million Americans set to retire in the next 10 years. Only 46 million are coming to take their place in the workforce. There is a coming tsunami, this wave, that's going to change the labor force dramatically in this country over the next 10 years.
REZNICK: In part, his sell is that companies can help themselves by embracing this wave now. He reminds the busy executives that older workers are more stable, don't career hop and require less training. In the four months it's been up, Jobs 4.0 has attracted 3,000 job listings, including some big names like GE, Coca-Cola and the investment firm UBS. But not everyone is interested. Greenberg recalls his pitch to a major oil company.
GREENBERG: We laid out a very careful case for them for the need to hire older workers, and they basically shrugged their shoulders and said, you know what? We're doing fine recruiting people out of college every year, and we don't feel any need to reach out to this group now.
REZNICK: Richard Manzalina - the out-of-work sales manager we heard from earlier - hopes Greenberg's Web site will help him get past such resistance.
MANZALINA: If an employer is advertising on 4.0, then hopefully it's not just for show. It's for real. They know the value of people in that age group.
REZNICK: Value Steven Greenberg believes his employers will recognize with a small push from him.
GREENBERG: All we are saying and all the candidates are saying is give us the opportunity to be evaluated on what we can do and not on the year that we were born.
REZNICK: For NPR News, I'm Bruce Reznick in New York.
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