Companies Keeping Older Workers as Economy Slows
That’s a big change from the last serious recession, in 1990-91, when older workers, especially in manufacturing, were hard-hit. Today’s pattern is closer to that of the mild 2001 recession, when older workers did reasonably well.
Boeing’s buyouts in the 1990s encouraged workers near retirement to jump ship. “We’ve learned from that,” says Hartnett. While Boeing says it doesn’t look at age in making cuts, it and others want to save the most productive workers—often employees whom companies have invested in most and who have “demonstrated track records,” says Chicago lawyer Gerald L. Maatman Jr., who recently advised 10 companies on downsizing. Such workers “tend to be more experienced and are often older.”