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Ageism: Does it Exist or Is It a Form of ‘I’m a Victim!’ Mentality? [ Part 2 ]

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Understand the employer’s side.

This is the second of a 4-part series dealing with ageism while job hunting.

There are two sides to every story and every issue. When it comes to hiring, there’s the employer’s side and the job seeker‘s side.

  • Employer’s side: Find the best candidate with the least perceived risks, willing to accept the compensation package being offered. (Risk aversion is why long hiring processes and numerous vetting steps exist.)
  • Job seeker’s side: Obtain a rewarding and satisfying job that pays well.

As you can see, each party is looking out for their own interests, resulting in a contradictory situation. In John Hughes‘s 1985 film The Breakfast Club, Andrew Clark (played by Emilio Estevez), in the library scene, sums up the end goal I’d say most job seekers and employees have: “What would I do for a million bucks? Well, I guess I’d do as little as I had to.”

In recent years job seekers and employees have been creating unquantified narratives that attempt to justify doing the least amount of work—and to work on their terms—for the most money. (e.g., The current ‘get paid what you’re worth’ movement.) I find employees today are promoting the view that employers are responsible for their well-being—they expect their employer to act as their nanny. Employee-employer relationships are rarely discussed in terms of finding a middle ground, which I believe exists, in which employees look out for their employers’ interests and vice versa. Where’s the brainstorming on how to form a healthy “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” employer-employee relationship?

Until we reach a point of balanced co-dependency, the current, growing tug-of-war between employer and employee will continue. Often, this pulling in opposite directions results in workplaces that neither the employer nor the employee(s) is happy with.

Employee-employer relationships will never be 100% equal because employers create jobs and sign the paychecks for those jobs; thus, employees are income dependent on their employer. In employee-employer relationships, this dependency gives employers more leverage. (I know, this truth hurts.) Consequently, it’s in the job seeker’s best interest to understand the many risks employers want to mitigate when hiring and how their biases were formed. Embracing the employer’s perspective will help you succeed more efficiently in the job market.

Business survival requires companies to primarily focus on creating and distributing products and/or services as profitably as possible. Profits, which are needed to survive, will always remain the ultimate objective of companies, despite their efforts to disguise the profit-seeking motive through less capitalistic language. No profits = No company. The more profits, generated with the least amount of friction (READ: headaches), the better.

An employer’s biggest headache is managing its employees, especially with employees’ growing sense of entitlement, keeping them from focusing on profit creation. It’s common knowledge that payroll is the largest expense employers face. Ironically, an employer’s biggest expense is also its biggest headache.

Profitability is an employer’s ultimate goal while minimizing headaches and risks. Hence, employers prefer candidates who can deliver the greatest ROI for their compensation and who’ll not create “too many” headaches and risks. In my last column, I wrote that hiring is choosing, a process requiring discriminating against those not chosen. Regarding a candidate’s age, a hiring manager may have many risk assumptions (READ: biases).

  • Older candidates: Set in their ways, overqualified (Yes, you can be overqualified, which makes you a flight risk.), won’t fit with the current demographics of employees/customer base, don’t possess the latest-technology skills, have health issues, expect a higher salary.
  • Younger candidates: Don’t have a proven track record of achieving results, flight risk (Always seeking better opportunities.), lack a solid work ethic, will be demanding, and have a sense of entitlement.

Do the presumptions mentioned above have merit? In the eyes of the employer, yes. Human psychology explains how biases are formed: Our brains are trained by our experiences. A hiring manager may be more inclined to hire candidates over 40 if they’ve had several “bad experiences” hiring candidates under 40. If the hiring manager has had several bad experiences hiring candidates over 40, the reverse will probably be true.

Truth bomb for all job seekers, regardless of age: Never think you’re “the best,” you’re not. Instead, aim to be the least painful option, which is a much easier target to hit than claiming and trying to prove you’re “the best.”

Contrary to conventional psychology, most of your biases don’t come from what your parents, teachers, or friends have told you, taught you, or adopting their biases. Your biases come from what you’ve personally experienced. By understanding how an employer’s hiring experiences may negatively impact their view of your age, you can take proactive steps towards addressing how your age is irrelevant, even advantageous. How? Check out my column next week.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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Charted: 40 Years of Global Energy Production, by Country – Visual Capitalist

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Energy was already a hot topic before 2022, but soaring household energy bills and a cost of living crisis has brought it even more to the forefront.

Which countries are the biggest energy producers, and what types of energy are they churning out? This graphic by 911 Metallurgist gives a breakdown of global energy production, showing which countries have used the most fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy since 1980.

All figures refer to the British thermal unit (BTU), equivalent to the heat required to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Editor’s note: Click on any graphic to see a full-width version that is higher resolution

1. Fossil Fuels

Biggest Producers of Fossil Fuel since 1980

View the full-size infographic

While the U.S. is a dominant player in both oil and natural gas production, China holds the top spot as the world’s largest fossil fuel producer, largely because of its significant production and consumption of coal.

Over the last decade, China has used more coal than the rest of the world, combined.

However, it’s worth noting that the country’s fossil fuel consumption and production have dipped in recent years, ever since the government launched a five-year plan back in 2014 to help reduce carbon emissions.

2. Nuclear Power

Biggest Producers of Nuclear Energy since 1980

View the full-size infographic

The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power by far, generating about double the amount of nuclear energy as France, the second-largest producer.

While nuclear power provides a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima caused many countries to move away from the energy source, which is why global use has dipped in recent years.

Despite the fact that many countries have recently pivoted away from nuclear energy, it still powers about 10% of the world’s electricity. It’s also possible that nuclear energy will play an expanded role in the energy mix going forward, since decarbonization has emerged as a top priority for nations around the world.

3. Renewable Energy

Biggest Producers of Renewable Energy

View the full-size infographic

Renewable energy sources (including wind, hydro, and solar) account for about 23% of electricity production worldwide. China leads the front on renewable production, while the U.S. comes in second place.

While renewable energy production has ramped up in recent years, more countries will need to ramp up their renewable energy production in order to reach net-zero targets by 2050.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist’s Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Musk faces deposition with Twitter ahead of October trial – Business News – Castanet.net

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is scheduled to spend the next few days with lawyers for Twitter, answering questions ahead of an October trial that will determine whether he must carry through with his $44 billion agreement to acquire the social platform after attempting to back out of the deal.

The deposition, planned for Monday, Tuesday and a possible extension on Wednesday, will not be public. As of Sunday evening it was not clear whether Musk will appear in person or by video. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it’s scheduled to last just five days.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. Twitter shares closed Friday at $41.58.

Musk indicated in July that he wanted to back away from the deal, prompting Twitter to file a lawsuit to force him to carry through with the acquisition.

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To rent or buy? What's in store for the clothing rental industry in Canada – CP24

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A few weeks ago, Carly Soares needed a dress for a wedding and fast.

“I tried going shopping at the mall, but noticed there was a scarce collection of formal dresses,” the 30-year-old said. “It was actually very surprising. It’s still the pandemic-loungewear kind of vibe throughout a lot of retail stores.”

The dresses she did come across were either too casual or too expensive, so she decided to rent one from a dress rental boutique, something she had never tried before.

And after a positive first experience, Soares said she would definitely do it again.

Clothing rental has become more mainstream over the last decade with the rise of the sharing economy, but the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t kind to these types of retailers.

As pandemic restrictions lifted, however, some Canadian rental businesses saw a boost in traffic.

While experts believe there is still more opportunity in the space, they are warning that growth might be subdued as Canadians change their shopping habits and priorities in an environment of hot inflation and rising interest rates.

There are other challenges as well, including getting more people on board with the idea of essentially sharing clothes, people’s mindset around the type of clothing suitable for rewear, environmentally-conscious consumers questioning how environmentally-friendly fashion rental truly is, and the logistics of inventory.

“We’ve been conditioned to purchase something, wear it, throw it out. Changing that to appreciate that rental opportunity is something that does take quite a lot of time,” said Daniel Drak, assistant professor at the Parsons School of Design.

One of the most prominent clothing rental businesses, if not the most, is U.S.-based Rent the Runway, founded in 2009, which quickly became a hit with women who wanted access to designer clothing but didn’t want to spend tons of money on outfits they might wear once or twice.

In Canada, a rush of new clothing rental businesses began popping up in the years leading up to the pandemic, offering everything from special occasion wear to workwear to maternity wear to everyday wear, but like many companies in the small business retail sector, getting through the last two years was a challenge.

Canadian companies like Rent Frock Repeat, workwear rental business Dresst and Montreal’s Station Service have all ended their run over the last couple of years.

It’s a “very challenging” market to be in, said Julie Kalinowski CEO of Toronto-based The Fitzroy, which offers special occasion dress rentals at a more affordable price.

According to Drak, Gen Z will be the generation that really moves the industry forward because of their excitement around shopping resale, whether it’s for economic reasons, aiming to reduce clothing waste or to find one-of-a-kind pieces.

He said now is the time for existing and emerging Canadian clothing rental businesses to lean into that popularity and make resale a part of their business model, which some have started to do.

The global resale apparel market was valued at US$14 billion last year, according to Statista, and is projected to grow to US$51 billion by 2026.

Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) assistant professor Anika Kozlowski said making genuine efforts to reduce clothing waste and reduce emissions stemming from clothing production, and operating as a local business in order to do so, might also be a good strategy, especially considering Canada’s smaller population.

This would involve a strong understanding of the community the business operates in, the use of high-quality Canada-made items from ethical brands, finding ways to clean and repair clothes in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment, and avoiding long-distance shipping.

That’s something Blyth Gill is working on with Vancouver-based Tradle, an e-commerce baby clothing subscription business that allows parents to rent and exchange clothes for each growth spurt.

“Because babies outgrow clothes quickly, the need to have and exchange clothes has a really short cycle,” he said.

Tradle works with local, high-quality brands, avoiding fast fashion brands. And when the clothes can no longer be reused, they won’t be thrown away, but instead recycled or broken down.

The company launched right before the pandemic, which Gill said was definitely a learning experience.

“Naturally, when we didn’t know as much about COVID-19, people were probably thinking, ‘sharing clothes? I don’t know,'” he said.

But Gill said he’s happy that phase is now behind them and is excited for the next stage of the business’ growth.

The Fitzroy’s Kalinowski is quite optimistic as well.

“Since the last reopening, it’s been crazy, it’s been a boom, it’s been probably our best sales yet. It’s been a big year for weddings, all the events are back on, all the galas are back on. We just had the Toronto International Film Festival, one of our busiest weeks. So it’s been crazy busy.”

Gabriella Iamundo, 31, uses fashion rental for special occasion wear, but doesn’t really see herself using it for everyday clothing, athleisure wear or workwear, or subscribing to a service, a sentiment TMU’s Kozlowski said is likely pretty common across the board.

“I rented (special occasion wear) for the first time probably four or five years ago, maybe a little bit longer than that, and it just became something I thought was good for events,” Iamundo said.

“To be honest, it’s pretty common in my circle of friends to check (rental services) out to at least see what the options are, especially before having to go buy something.”

When looking further ahead, Parsons’ Drak sees bigger, traditional brands starting their own rental segments – which U.S.-founded Urban Outfitters has done – or acquiring existing businesses in the space, which would shake up the market.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2022.

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