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Why Companies In Argentina Are Hunting For Older Workers

Firms in Argentina are recruiting over-40s for their steady hand and people skills — and their affordability.

A businessman walks in Buenos Aires.
A businessman walks in Buenos Aires.
Gabriela Samela

BUENOS AIRES — There's some surprising good news for the 40+ generation in Argentina: Firms are loosening their longstanding youth-oriented recruitment preferences for positions ranging from customer service to product design. Beyond their experience, employers say this age group shows a greater commitment both to work itself and to their employers.

The Latin American classifieds site Navent has found that those older than 40 generally look for the same kinds of jobs as other age groups, with "commercial operations and sales' being the areas "with most movement," according to Navent Argentina's CEO, Federico Barni.

Navent has registered a widening age range in its recruitment postings for sales and post-sale services like customer care, as "firms have become more flexible, upwards," Barni said.

New generations do not have the work culture there used to be

Part of the reason is a growing awareness of the need for some workforce stability. "There is a lot of turnover with these positions, like call centers, sales, customer attention, supermarkets," Barni notes. "New generations do not have the work culture there used to be, nor think much in terms of a future with the company."

He adds that older workers may need a bit more training, especially in terms of technology; but they tend to be looking for stable, lasting positions.

Christian Bernal, the head of human resources at Walmart in Argentina, says the latest trends in recruiting include 40-something newcomers in cashier and clerk positions. For such positions, shops don't need applicants with prior experience but people "who are productive so customers are attended to as soon as possible and treated well and people who are patient and able to resolve new situations efficiently," Bernal says.

Carrefour supermarkets launched their Yo Trabajo (I Work) program in 2013 aimed at over-40s and coinciding with the launch of its Express stores. The firm wanted older people who were good at sales and had finished secondary school. The firm admits that initially it had to track recruits as their "learning curve was a little longer than than others," says Martha Benítez, a personnel executive at Carrefour. What older employees offer instead is an ability to talk to members of the public, "reading their needs and forging close ties."

Another supermarket chain, Día, has also begun recruiting retired people for customer service specifically as call operators and online assistants.

Gire, a financial technology firm, has combined the hunt for age diversity with a social mission, since older people often feel excluded like women and minorities, says Adrián Barreto, the firm's head of culture, community and communication. "Millennials have a "multi-window" perspective while older people have more focus when it comes to money matters," he says.

María Olivieri, head of Page recruiters in Argentina, confirms that the hunt for older workers is a region-wide trend. "The value seen in these professionals is their ability to transfer experience in cultural and economic terms," she says. "Aplomb is important, and older workers have it."

But there is also a "harsh reality" driving the new hunt for experienced workers: Older professionals in need of a job will work for less than before or the same rate as a young recruit —and their experience is thrown in as a free bonus.

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Geopolitics

Women, Life, Freedom: Iranian Protesters Find Their Voice

In the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police mid-September for not wearing her hijab properly, many Iranians have taken the streets in nationwide protests. Independent Egyptian media Mada Masr spoke to one of the protesters.

Students of Amirkabir University in Tehran protest against the Islamic Republic in September 2022.

Lina Attalah

On September 16, protests erupted across Iran when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in custody after being arrested and beaten by morality police for her supposedly unsuitable attire. The protests, witnesses recount, have touched on all aspects of rights in Iran, civil, political, personal, social and economic.

Mada Masr spoke to a protester who was in the prime of her youth during the 2009 Green Movement protests. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to possible security retaliation, she walked us through what she has seen over the past week in the heart of Tehran, and how she sees the legacy of resistance street politics in Iran across history.

MADA MASR: Describe to us what you are seeing these days on the streets of Tehran.

ANONYMOUS PROTESTER: People like me, we are emotional because we remember 2009. The location of the protests is the same: Keshavarz Boulevard in the middle of Tehran. The last time Tehranis took to these streets was in 2009, one of the last protests of the Green Movement. Since then, the center of Tehran hasn’t seen any mass protests, and most of these streets have changed, with new urban planning meant to make them more controllable.

Remembering 2009 triggers many things, such as street strategies, tactics and the way we could find each other in the middle of the chaos. But this is us now, almost at the back. Up front, there are many younger people, especially girls. They are extremely brave, fearless and smart.

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