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LABOR MARKET

Retiree offers €5,000 to the company that gives his unemployed son a job

The 68-year-old placed the ad after watching his offspring struggle to find a job for a year

Virginia Martínez
“Pensioner offers €5,000 to company that will hire his unemployed son:” The ad as it ran in ‘El Heraldo de Aragón.’
“Pensioner offers €5,000 to company that will hire his unemployed son:” The ad as it ran in ‘El Heraldo de Aragón.’

“Pensioner offers €5,000 to company that will hire his unemployed son, who is qualified, responsible, hard-working and has a good record. Depending on contract, amount negotiable. Absolute discretion.”

That was the message placed by a 68-year-old retiree that could be found tucked in between classified ads offering loans, repairs and blind dates in Friday’s edition of El Heraldo de Aragón newspaper.

Antonio – an assumed name – placed the ad out of desperation, after watching his 39-old-son struggle to find a decent job for an entire year.

Before this, pensioners used to help support their grandchildren, but now we have to support them and our own children as well”

Since the desperate plea came out in print last week in the Zaragoza-based regional newspaper, Antonio says he has been approached by 20 companies.

But this native of Madrid, who has been living in Aragon for 18 years, says he’d rather “keep his feet on the ground.”

His son, who is married and has a five-year-old child, has been on temporary contracts ever since he took his university entrance exam. Since then, he has worked in several industries, including the IT, hospitality and food sectors.

In September 2014 he was dismissed from his latest job in the maintenance department of a chemical products company. He had been working there for seven years, but “a fresh wave of young employees got him laid off.”

Since then, the son has been looking for new employment, to no avail. He is one of the 4,067,955 people out of a job in Spain, according to the latest August figures.

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His father, a lawyer who used to work for the government, now earns the highest-tier pension check, around €2,500 a month. But that amount has to cover his own expenses and also help his five children make ends meet.

His wife is very ill, and while his four other kids have jobs, they are “mileuristas,” a name given to those who make €1,000 a month or less.

His youngest son lives in Zaragoza, and his daughter-in-law works in the food industry, but “they barely have enough to pay the mortgage.”

“I thought of offering €5,000 because it’s an easy number to remember, but I am ready to pay more,” says Antonio, who doesn’t mind whether his son gets a regular job as a company employee or an offer for a good business project.

All he wants is for his son to pull out of the dark hole he is trapped in.

In less than a week, Antonio has received 20 calls, yet none of the companies have asked him about the money. All they want is the candidate’s résumé and an interview date. The potential employers, most of which are based in Zaragoza, work in hospitality, graphic design, insurance, and there was a media outlet as well, says Antonio.

But he would rather be cautious about this apparent success. “You never know who is behind each door.”

Antonio placed the ad without telling his son about it first. In fact, he only let him know about his plan a few hours before the paper hit the newsstands.

“He got really angry at me, he didn’t want people in Zaragoza to know it was him. He found it beneath him, embarrassing even,” recalls Antonio. “But after a long conversation, he finally told me, ‘You’re the best dad in the world’.”

Besides making the headlines, the initiative has also reached Aragón’s regional government, where Pablo Echenique, the representative for Ahora Podemos, tweeted: “In the newspaper classifieds, there you have it, Mariano Rajoy’s ‘recovery’.”

In the newspaper classifieds, @marianorajoy's ‘recovery.’

Antonio is bemused by the repercussions of the ad, but gets serious when he talks about the way the government has been handling the crisis and the pressure on Spain’s pensioners.

“We are supporting four million people out of a job,” he says. “The job situation cannot go on like this. Before this, pensioners used to help support their grandchildren, but now we have to support them and our own children as well.”

English version by Susana Urra

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