Unseen generation. The challenge of reinventing yourself at work after 45 years
The Covid and the consequences of the quarantines left a large part of the less qualified workers over 40 years of age out of the labor market and even when employment grows again, most of these people will not be able to return to the activity unless they are requalified . This inequality was aggravated by two factors. The first was automation. Without a doubt, the technological revolution has been changing the ways of working for some time and the process accelerated in 2020. The other variable was the pandemic recession.
“This is a phenomenon of Argentina and the world. Although at the local level, its own characteristics are added that further aggravate the issue, such as educational difficulties”, emphasized Rubén Figueiredo, full professor in the Human Behavior Area in the organization of the Business School (IAE) of the Universidad Austral ( AU).
According to a study by ECLAC and the ILO, the recovery and job creation in 2021 was partial and even slower than the reactivation of the world economy. Although Latin America and the Caribbean would close the period with economic growth of almost 6%, this increase will not be enough to recover the level of production or employment in 2019.
“The pandemic directly affected work. Much more so in a society like ours with significant unemployment and where 50% of it lives below the poverty line. Thus, indicators that were already below normal standards worsened. It showed everyone pre-existing inequalities in employment, education and health,” said Betina Velaz, president and general director of the Asociación Civil Fuerza Mujeres.
The effects of the current international economic crisis and the technological revolution generate a double alteration of work. According to the International Economic Forum (WEF), in the next five years, 85 million jobs will disappear. This will be the result of faster automation than projected.
In its report “The future of employment after Covid”, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGL) considers that more than 50% of workers in the lowest income segments will have to be requalified. Only then could they continue in the market.
“That task will not be easy in Argentina. Many of them did not finish their studies. It is difficult to retrain a large group of people for new positions,” said Figueiredo.
An investigation by the World Bank and the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (Cippec) estimated that school dropout will be in ranges of ten years ago. Before Covid, they projected a decrease in this index to 18 per 100 boys. However, it is already estimated that it will continue at 22 percent. In this way, the segment of unskilled labor would continue to grow.
At the same time, the local labor market is volatile and unstable. It also has a high percentage of informal workers. In March 2020, it had a high level of unemployment and a strong deterioration in job quality.
Likewise, the Indec reported a contraction in the activity rate. For all agglomerates, it was located at 39% between the economically active population and the total. This behavior is explained by several reasons.
First, there is the increase in unemployment. A significant number of individuals stopped looking for work due to movement restrictions. The same thing happened with those who were unemployed before March 2020. In this way, all of them were incorporated into the inactive population. And going into inactivity makes it difficult to rejoin the market. The situation gets worse the longer it lasts.
On the other hand, there are in the country, more than 600,000 over 45 years unemployed. Many of them have high school and college degrees. They are used to the work culture. But today they are part of the inactive sector.
“According to the Indec, as of last June, the age group of temporary staff was between 18 to 21 years of 12%, from 21 to 25 of 32%, from 31 to 45 years of 27% and older than 45 of 3%. This shows that as people approach 40 years of age, employment opportunities are increasingly scarce”, underlined Oscar Silverio, Corporate Manager of Public Relations at PAE Global.
In Argentina, reaching the middle of life can mean being expelled from the labor market for being considered old. “We call them the invisible generation. It is a discriminated population and without the support of any public policy, “said Ana Carolina Corbelle, executive director of the Diagonal Civil Association.
In contrast, life expectancy at birth is on the rise. “Life expectancy is lengthening. So, people in their 50s and 60s are at their productive best in all its dimensions. But it must be understood, in addition and above all, that talent has no age”, limited the Diagonal board.
Unemployment also causes psychological consequences in any individual. It weakens motivation and job search skills. This deepens in cases of economic vulnerability and advanced age.
“That is a harsh reality that ends up demotivating them. However, the Covid opened up an opportunity for them that has not yet been exploited. The home office It is an alternative to insert those over 45 years of age. In general, their family situation is more controlled with or without large children, unlike someone who is 30 years old,” said the PAE global executive.
For their part, and although they represent only 39% of global employment, women are 54% of those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. For MGL, this imbalance could lead to a loss of one trillion dollars to global growth in the next decade.
For many governments, retirement is the solution to all these issues. “Retiring without a plan is not advisable. Not having anything to do can lead to depression, among other things, because the person is left without a purpose,” Figueiredo warned.
The president of Fuerza Mujeres recalled an unresolved issue typical of the passive stage. “At the moment, our country does not ensure an adequate standard of living with retirement. In general, she does not claim to live in a dignified manner, “he added.
Given this scenario, undertaking would be the only way out for. However, not everyone has the attitudes to be an entrepreneur. Carrying out this type of project requires the courage and knowledge to take risks, develop special skills and even have financial capacity.
But, as the saying goes, necessity has the face of a heretic. “It is common for most women to start a business out of necessity rather than because the opportunity presents itself to them,” Velaz acknowledged.
For all this, for a few the only path that would remain would be informality or requalification. To achieve this, new skills must be developed.
The first step would be inserting yourself into the technology. At least you should know and know how to handle basic tools or apps.
A serious mistake is to look for a job similar or equal to the one that was lost. According to experts, you should look at all the offers and possibilities. Even lowering expectations and pointing to different items.
It is also essential to overcome one’s own psychological barriers. “Some people came to our foundation with one or two years looking for work. They didn’t even have a job interview in that period. Many times, the emotional part gets in the way of your search. They feel like they’re useless,” Corbelle recalled.
Analysts consider that in order to reinsert themselves into the labor market, qualities such as flexibility, initiative and constant training must be developed.