Who Would You Fire?

Say you have four employees in front of you and you have to get rid of one. Which one would you fire?

1) Young, Good Performance, and Cheap to employ
2) Young, Average Performance, and Cheap to employ
3) Middle-aged, Average Performance, and Expensive to employ
4) Older, Excellent Performance, and Expensive to employ

In 2001, a study posed this question to hiring managers in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Here’s how they answered:

Which country are you most like? Obviously, real life is much more complicated, and other factors come into play when it comes to downsizing. But I would have chosen either of the average workers, and if this was a cost-cutting measure, the average and expensive person would be on the cutting block. [via]


14 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#22)

Definitely average and expensive – only reason I can figure to keep them is because of intangibles that come with age (connections, institutional memory) or because they probably will retire soon anyway, while that young and average kid is only gonna get more expensive.

leonstj (#1,060)

Fire Candidate 1. He’s gunning for your job.

caffeinecasualty (#1,150)

Whom Would You Fire? With a m.

cbrownson (#23)


With an m.

bibliostitute (#285)

@cbrownson Possibly an m?

Mirch (#228)

I think Germany is very interesting, seeing as their economy is doing the best at the moment. It seems like they think about the overall economy more. Getting rid of the young average performer will be easier on the general economy because he’ll have an easier time finding other work and he does not have a family to support. The older average performer will have a harder time finding new work and his family will suffer.

@Mirch Well, the study refers to that as “social justice concerns” rather than concerns about “the economy.” Weirdly, though, caring about social justice also tends to be good for the economy as a whole.

navigateher (#555)

@Mirch I live in Finland which is supposed to be one of the “a-class” economies in Europe atm. Having seen a lot of people getting hired & fired in different fields I have no doubt that here too the young average performer would get fired first, whereas, weirdly enough, the old(er) average performers seem to have the most stable jobs. I don’t know why though.

Mrs. Beeton (#320)

Man, why are the Italians being such a dick to grandpa?

KPeeps (#1,140)

@Mrs. Beeton I read somewhere a while back (probably NYT) that the younger generation of Italians have it much harder than the older because the older receive all kinds of benefits from the state and are able to hold on to their jobs longer. In this case, they probably see the older guy ready to retire anyway and he’ll be fine so why keep him?

Megano! (#124)

Yeaaaaaaah! England and Europe!

Megano! (#124)

@Megano! Seriously though, get out Middle aged money suck! (OK, that came out harsher than I intended, but hey, they probably at least have savings.)

MuffyStJohn (#280)

In the U.S. we fire 1-3 and then tell 4 to do their jobs at no additional pay.

navigateher (#555)

From my standpoint though the whole discussion is purely hypothetical (sp?), because in here it’s so ridiculously difficult to fire anyone they all would probably get to keep their jobs anyway. Employment laws!

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