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What's up with the Big4's age discrimination in hiring? I read that PwC was accused of age bias recently in the rejection of a 53 year old guy for an entry level position...

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It's kind of a ridiculous argument, when the turnover in public accounting is so high anyway. And the argument that a 50 year old won't work as effectively as a 22 year old... You do realize that most of your partners are that age and work those hours, right?

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Obviously you shouldn't discriminate based on age, but think of it realistically. Do you see a 50+ year old individual working the 50-60 hour busy season weeks as effectively as a 23-25 year old? We hired a guy into manager position and he was around 55-60 and retired after 1 year because of the stress. Anecdotal, but still gets at the point.

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I started with a guy in his 40s. He quit after a month because he didn't like being told what to do by people younger than him. The fact is that the % of unconventional hires that actually work out is low.

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I work with a guy who's in his late 40s and has two daughters in high school. This is his third career, and he's really liking it! He's a second year associate, entered with no experience.

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@Assurance Senior 1 - Yes, the one who is at the top of the food chain (aka a Partner) is at an older age, which is highly normal. Imagine a a 50 year old working in excel and taking orders from a 26 year old for 14 hours a day for $60k salary. Whereas a 50 year old partner giving orders for a salary well into the hundred thousands. There is a huge difference my friend.

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PwC is a sociopathic place. From culture to actual people. I don't think a 50 year old has a place as an entry level associate. At the same time, PwC discriminates hardcore. The team I was on sucked balls. They were super geeky and judgmental. Called a guy a douche just because he wore his sunglasses on his shirt in the building. Not only do you have to be a bad ass worker at a big 4 for people to like you, you have to fit in. Which means liking and doing the same lame things your peers do. If that means working your brains out with no social life then so be it.

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@Assurance Senior 1, I think it is a sound argument. Would you honestly hire someone who's 50+ coming in as a new hire vs someone who's most likely interned at the firm or at a similar company with applicable experience? The older individual clearly doesn't have relevant experience in the fact that they're going for a new hire position. Why invest all the time, money, and effort into someone who's going to most likely retire soon. And there's an argument to say the young people will jump ship soon too, but at the same time there's more long term potential with the younger individual who's most likely going to be ready to adapt and learn better than someone who's been doing something probably completely different for 30 years. You have to take that into consideration when hiring. Not everything is completely fair for everyone in the realistic world...unfortunately.

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The problem is - where do you cut it off? If 50 is too old, what about 45? If 45 is too old, is 40 also? Or 35? And yes - I would very honestly rather have a 50 on a second career who has some business savvy than a 22 who has no idea how the world works. I would hardly consider 15 years away from retirement "someone who is going to retire soon."

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I know a guy who managed a 50 something new hire. He said it was the most frustrating thing, because the person was so technologically inept. Trying to learn audit and computers simultaneously is twice as hard. A 50+ year old person who is tech savvy probably wouldn't be applying for an entry level position.

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That is not what was stated initially. The original statement was "Do you see a 50+ year old individual working the 50-60 hour busy season weeks as effectively as a 23-25 year old." That is a giant assumption and just not a sound argument. Additionally, there are issues with hiring 22 year olds as well - as evidenced by this message board. I'm guessing a 50 year old is going to be more focused on working than on how many of his coworkers he can smash. There are pluses and minuses of each - but to assume that a 50 year old won't take direction from someone younger than them is, in fact, age discrimination. It won't be true for every 50 year old. Not every 22 year old is trying to hook up with coworkers. But the older entry level candidates are given far less opportunity to prove themselves than their younger counterparts, for very silly reasons in my opinion.

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@Deloitte 1- I could not agree more with you.

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The age discrimination is actually two-fold:1) people who have had previous careers find it hard to not be good at their jobs anymore AND to take directions from someone younger. This is mostly a pride issue. 2) Hiring straight out of college allows the firm greater odds of the new hires that will drink their cool-aid. Without having worked another white collar job, the new hires out of college don't know what it's like to work normal hours and have reachable/surpassable expectations. For these two reasons, it makes sense to hire the younger lot. I am one of the older hires and was very good at my previous career and found the most challenging part of this job to be not good at what I do anymore. Swallowing your pride is difficult, but necessary to learn a new trade.

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It really comes down to forced retirement age. Someone in their 40s would be fine investment wise-probably more likely to stay til senior or manager. However, someone in their 50s would reach forced retirement age before senior manager. And if you go with the assumption that they leave the firm anyway, there is an argument that there is little benefit from the ongoing relationship after the firm because that 50+ year old will retire at 60-65 anyway. Versus a 20something that leaves after a couple years and can provide 40 more years of recommendations and new clients for the firm

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Pwc has mandatory retirement at 60. Its for partners, but why would you work there if you weren't partner track. I think IFS/auxiliary staff dont have to retire at 60 so it also depends on what type of position you are looking to get into

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