Some are old, already as young

By Tove Möller, 17. Jan 2023

Tove Möller, Diversity, Equality & CSR-specialist at The Accessible Society

A thought leader within the area of D&I has shared her thoughts  on "Some are old, already as young" and some reflections on the recruitment market from that perspective.

In 2022, the effects of the post-pandemic have been clear in many ways. There are still ongoing discussions about whether companies should let employees work at home in different hybrid solutions, or whether they should return to workplaces again.

I think it's hard to turn back the clock, almost like deciding to go back into a relationship with an old ex after a bunch of years, when one has evolved into something else. How many people want to do it? 

I, therefore, hope for 2023 that companies listen to their employees and that flexible working methods exist, that development moves forward and that one does not have to exclude the other. In 2022, both in my job and in my vicinity, I have several who lost their jobs as an effect of all the notices associated with the pandemic. What I have thought a lot about is that many still have not found anything new and that many of them are those whom the labour market considers older. In our company, we work to help companies create welcoming and inclusive corporate culture, age has been discussed for lots of years of course, but in these times when it is difficult to find skills, it becomes even more difficult to understand that age discrimination is something the labour market can afford to engage in.

Why dismiss competencies because they come in maybe older packaging? Especially when there are so many good examples? Designer Vera Wang debuted her first design at the age of 40, and at 72, she designed Ariana Grande's wedding dress. She was thus able to make a woman who had not yet reached the age of 30 happy with her design, an age difference; of 44 years! Vera's business is today estimated to have a value of SEK 6,722,839,500, even though she thus began at an age when we begin to pull our ears, 40 years, when it comes to employment.

King Charles of the United Kingdom got the job he had studied for since childhood, at age 73, in 2022.

American country singer Loretta Lynn passed away in 2022 at the age of 90, as recently as the year before her last album was released when she was 89 years old. Of course, I know that these are so-called celebrities, BUT I also know that these have their counterpart among completely ordinary people in our country.

My point here is, too many people who have not even turned 50, are rejected in the Swedish labour market. I wish to see something different for 2023. Every company should see the benefit of having a broad generational representation among employees to ensure broader experiences in their business.  

In our company, we of course work with inclusion from all perspectives, all underrepresentation, not just what is based on age. The hope that I have for 2023 is that we look at fellow human beings based on what they can contribute, and what talents, experiences, and skills they bring to a company.

I also hope that companies and recruitment companies do away with the personal letter, which risks preconceived notions and unconscious (sometimes conscious) prejudices that make candidates sort out. I would like to see us get closer to data-driven applications in 2023 where who the candidate is, how tall or short the candidate is, how old, where the candidate was born, the appearance or age, disposition or functional variations, things that have no bearing on the applied position, nor does it appear in the application documentation.

Of course, this does not mean that recruiters are not competent or professional but that we can all suffer prejudice. Even myself!

In 2022 I have been hospitalized for a short time, at the round the first morning I will admit that I thought: -"What are all these young people doing around my bed, when will the doctor come"? Suddenly one of the young people says that she is my doctor and her name is Alexandra....

With this, I would like to wish everyone a fantastic 2023 and remind everyone that the Rolling Stones who are still doing tours together are about 320 years combined!

Thank you, Tove Möller, Diversity, Equality & CSR specialist at Access-Society