Jobs not age discriminationA bill that passed the National Assembly to promote youth employment is gathering strong backlash from job seekers in their 30s. The new bill obliges the public sector to reserve more than a 3-percent share for job applicants aged between 15 and 29 in hiring quotas from next year. New hiring in public companies generally does not exceed 3 percent of total employment, which means that job-seekers in their 30s virtually won’t be able to get jobs in the public sector from next year.
Those looking for jobs in their 30s are protesting the legislation vehemently. They claim it is age-discriminatory and a violation of civilian rights. They are petitioning support through online and mobile platforms to file suit with the Constitutional Court to fight for their constitutional rights. Their anger is understandable. It is clearly unfair to strip them of the chance of finding a job because of their age.
The lawmakers who have sponsored the bill said they will revise the legal act to expand the age range. Even if the age cap is raised, it doesn’t change the fact that the law is age-discriminatory. If the threshold is raised to 31, those at 32 will protest and so would those aged 34 if the ceiling was set at 33. If the scope is further extended, the purpose of the law to enhance hiring of young people will also be undermined.
An employment law focusing on a specific generation is discriminating against others and won’t be of much help for the general labor market. Without increasing job offers, any promotion law and action won’t do more than divide the same pie. It would also only worsen the generational conflict over jobs.
The essence of tackling the unemployment issue should be to focus on creating new jobs, not distributing them. The aim should be directed to increase the overall job market, not encouraging the hiring of a certain generation and age group. Jobs can be increased and when the economy prospers. Instead of trying to boost job numbers, the government and politicians should set their eyes on reviving the economy and stimulating growth.
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