Is older workforce in a student’s way?
I noticed a recent post that experienced and degree holding workers are applying for internships. As a current graduate student, I am a little concerned. How about you? Would you hire a 55-year old or even a 35-year old worker that was recently laid off for your internship position? I would certainly hope not. Despite the fact that I do sympathize with those hit hard by the recession, I consider an internship position to be very unfitting for an experienced worker.
First, let’s examine what an internship is. Internships have a reputation of adding valuable experience to a student’s resume. A step in the door. They used to be primarily unpaid, but today we can delightfully find many paid offerings. To me, an internship can be defined as such: it is a supervised learning while working experience that adds value to your resume, thereby, allowing you to gain greater chances of receiving a desired position in the future.
As a manager, CEO, or recruiter, you decide who you should hire for your internships based on the needs assessment of your organization. Will your organization benefit from prospering wise student interns? Is there an ROI for hiring a cheaper employee to do entry level tasks? Can this student bring about new ideas and solutions that an older worker may overlook or just not know about? Or, would your organization benefit from an educated employee who is grateful to receive any position today and can help with more than just entry level tasks for the same cost? Then, why not just offer a part-time position with the same wage and hours? This way, everyone can equally apply.
As a student and an employee, I strive to gain the most knowledge out of my experiences and the most advantage over my peers all around the world. Should I worry about gaining advantage over older workers with experience for an internship position? Although I would love to take on the challenge, I would like to think that those are still open for students and emerging workers to take advantage of. One thing I overheard in class is that students are having trouble finding entry level positions because they have minimal experience. Someone asked me how they can gain the experience if no one would give them the chance to. Resume, resume, resume! I always say to use any experience you have and think about how it applies to the position you are trying to secure. Today, it is necessary to use anything you can, such as experience at a restaurant, or an applied group project in class.
Yes, the economy is poor right now and the recession is hurting a lot of the older work force. At the same time, many older workers and near retirees, are choosing to remain in their currently held positions. What does this mean for us students? It means fewer jobs at the top of the ladder. On the other hand, due to the baby boomer generation, there is very little talent available in between a student and a retiree. This is even a greater reason why internships should be left alone for the students and emerging talent, because, sooner than later, someone needs to fill that gap in between.
It’s a small world after all…
For more on this topic, the article I came across was published by SHRM, http://www.shrm.org/Publications/HRNews/Pages/OlderInterns.aspx