A thought about employment age/type of person today in some aspects of business

Started by New Restaurant, October 24, 2018, 12:45:01 PM

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New Restaurant

In my non related business (environmental emergency response as well as my sister company, tractor trailer repair) I have found a greater number of older part-time people being employed by various types of companies in positions that were all typically filled by the younger, still in school/college or fresh out of, or just plain unskilled labor work force, now being filled by older, retired or semi retired people, just passing the time of day.

I actually called three companies this morning and talked to them about it.  Asking for a comparison of those two types.  All three said, they would never go back to hiring the younger people again, too many problems, no shows for scheduled work day, texting and cell phone usage problems, driving problems, respect problems, attitude, etc. 

The three types of companies were: 1) Laboratory Testing Company,  that has a fleet of pick up and delivery vans that run a 6 day route statewide; 2)  Parts delivery drivers for auto and truck wholesalers; 3) Industrial Wholesale Supply company in a major metro area, their delivery drivers.


New Restaurant,

What you have reported squares with what I have read about the employment market.

For several years now, teens and young college students have increasingly left the work force because they see no need to work. In many cases parents (often called helicopter parents) have shielded them from work because they have adequate resources to be able to do that. Also, with more and more young people going to college, many spend their spare time doing things like charitable and volunteer activities and anything else that will beef up their resumes for college and improve their chances of getting accepted by the best colleges. It might also mean taking courses during the summer. And those young people have become fussier over time about what part time jobs they will consider.

Another factor that has caused the teen and college student unemployment to decrease is the existence of immigrant workers who are willing to work for less than what teens and college students are likely to be paid.

As for the older workers, many have chosen to work beyond retirement age. Many say that they are doing so because they like their jobs and they like their coworkers, or that they are still in good health and just not ready to hang it up. But I suspect that often the real reason is that they have not saved enough for retirement. It used to be that companies, even smaller ones, gave defined benefit pensions to their workers. But the number of such companies has dropped off of a cliff. Many workers have participated in 401(k) plans but unless they have been doing that for years, their account balances will be on the low side and insufficient, even with Social Security, to provide an adequate retirement. For example, the average 401(k) and IRA account at Fidelity and Vanguard is a bit over 100K. And that is up from about 70+K from the end of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. And when the next recession occurs, those number will drop again. What investment experts tend to use as a benchmark amount to shoot for for retirement, they usually say 1M. One of the reasons for such a high number is the likelihood that retirees may have to cover expenses that are not paid for by others, such as assisted living and/or nursing home care. The typical number cited for medical expenses for a couple age 65 is around 280K (and excludes assisted living or nursing home care).

The pictorials below highlight some of the above matters.


New Restaurant

Two sides to these kind of stories, of course. 

I do know, our own situation with employment within my partners 3 businesses with close to 40 employees.  The younger ones are extremely tough to work with, hard headed, and lax in so many ways---as compared to say pre-2000 workforce anyway. 

This/our employees are not the standard either way for everyone, everywhere.  However, it is reality.  And we do have numerous older employees, all part time as needed, over 60 years old driving for us, CDL and non CDL drivers.  I do know them all outside of the business.  They do not appear to be broke or in desperate need of money. 

And yes the parent thing with the better resources and the schooling applies to many younger people, however, that was always there IMO.  But yes, you make some very valid points and yes, we still have a problem with employees in many types of businesses, regardless of the pay offering and the benefits,

Both my brother and I come from a small family.  We both worked in the Burger King, Woolworth's, Winn Dixie, etc. when we were growing up.  My dad had a great job, mom never worked.  Typical suburban to a major city type of Leave it to Beaver neighborhood.  Things have changed, IMO.  Some for the better and some for the worse.  I have young kids, I want them to work when they can and learn what self sustaining and values are.  I think that starts with work and the workforce myself. 

My 2 step children I shown before in the pictures I posted 11 and 12 years old, both worked after school in their mom's restaurant and during the summer that just past, before she locked the doors I talked about.  The boy tells me the other week, what he wants for his birthday in November, he goes just buy me one toy and buy me one more to give to my little brother so he won't get mad.  I was surprised!  He always has a long laundry list of things he wants.  He says, 'Daddy, I know how hard it is to make money and all the things you buy us cost money, I worked for mommy and I realize those things now".

Just thinking out loud.  That's all.

And, I was not really just referring to teens, 16-19.  I was referring to the 19/20 to 30 year old employee, age range. 


New Restaurant,

Members of the age group you mentioned are having their own sets of problems, although things have improved since the Great Recession.



At the risk of sounding like my dad, much of the problem with the younger generation, not all, but too many want to go to work to get a PAYCHECK, but don't feel they should have to WORK for it! The entitlement attitude if you will. Not willing to put in the time to gain experience, work overtime, show up on time.....I could go on. These attitudes affect others around them and can spread like a cancer ruining team work and lack of pride for their jobs and respect for each other. I consider myself a lucky and blessed man with my own kids. They all have GREAT work ethic, work hard and save the best they can. I try to thank God daily for what we have and our children have and they understand the reward that comes with a good work and family values!

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."-----------Mark Twain

"If you don't think you're getting what you should out of life.....maybe you're getting what you deserve."---------The Root Beer Lady

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."---------Muhammad Ali



We have one older retired (70 years) person who managed 200 people in their job.   It is great for reliability, professionalism, and no emotional baggage.  The only downside is they are slower than younger people and take a couple vacations a year.  When you put it all down they far outweigh a younger person who is still climbing the ladder so to speak.  Our other employees are college and one high school student.   They are great youngsters - top of the class/overachievers.   They learn quick and are reliable except when school vacations come around and semesters change their availability a few times a year.  They have no culinary so I have to train from ground 0 but that is what I did for 23 years as a special education teacher.   Still they are well worth it when compared to the average career restaurant employee who comes with food skills but often are dealing with addictions,emotion/ financial instabilities.   It works for us as we have more employees than hours which works out when dealing with vacations and semester changes.  Sending them home on slow days with a large pizza for compensation and not able to provide them with full time hours would never work with the career employee.


the number one problem restaurant owners in our very rural town is exactly that... workers who want a paycheck but are incapable of actually pulling their weight when on shift.  Plus, our 'shifts' are unpredictable when we will be busy. Certainly, during the vacation/summer season we are pretty busy 5 - 8 pm.  In the winter, since we have 6,000 people living in our county, spread across 8 or more places to eat, our 'busy' day rotates as do the customers through town.  So, having a semi-retired employee would save us, because they understand our need to call them in on a moments notice. 

A restaurant a block away from us is up for sale (breakfast, burgers and bar in the back)  The owner is pulling her hair out trying to keep her place staffed with people who actually work.  Now trying to sell her business for $330K with the building included.  She was telling me now that the min wage is nearly $15/hr here -- PLUS built in State Mandated 'sick' pay, she says its ridiculous to have an employee in her bar on a Friday night, get drunk as a skunk, then have them call in 'sick' the next morning (she knows its really a hangover - she has to pay for it either way!  This state is making it virtually impossible to stay in business.  To be honest, her place is at a price I don't think anyone would be willing to pay for a business in our economically depressed area!!! There's a small group of locals here who think our town/economy can be saved by developing 'tourism'  -- it won't work without the infrastructure of people capable of actually working.

What saves our small shop is that its family run, and therefore we do not have the employment problem, don't have to deal with state mandated wages and sick pay. I may make less, but our cost of living and overhead are so low, it makes sense to continue as we are, for as long as we can.  WE do not have any retirement and at the rate things are going by the time I'm old enough to collect SS, there won't be any at all, or they'll raise the age again. (tail end Baby Boomer generation here 57yo)  SIGH.  Maybe someday I can be that 'semi-retired' folk who will be happy to help another restaurant out in my future.  For now, I have to work to eat and keep a roof over my head.

Labor and the cost of labor are a huge obstacle to running a restaurant!!!