Ageism in the Workplace

Randall Mauldin
08-20-16 10:28 AM Comment(s)
cpsmrequired A recent Linked In poll talked about discrimination in the job market and who suffered the most under it. The question that was asked was What type of discrimination, if any, is prevalent in today's job market? The answers were older, younger, unemployed, and race/ethnicity. An overwhelming number of participants answered that older workers were discriminated against the most, with the long term unemployed coming in a close second. This shows that the older and longer term unemployed are finding the current job market especially brutal and unforgiving. In 1967 the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was signed which protects people 40 years or older from age discrimination in the workplace. It applies to companies that have 20 or more employees, including government employees. The protections include apprenticeship programs, job notices and advertisements, pre-employment inquires, and benefits. But even with these laws in place, it still doesnt stop the rampant ageism that continues every day. Stereotypes are deeply engrained. Older workers are seen as being slower to change, even though many older workers are actually very open to change and are quite tech savvy. Employers think theyll be hired for only a short time and after theyve gone through training will leave the company to retire, even though people are postponing retirement for many reasons. Demand for higher wages is another misconception. Older job seekers will work for less money, especially in a tough recession. Health issues weigh heavily on the minds of employers, who may feel older workers will take more sick days and not be able to do their job. As with anything, there may be a grain of truth to that, but the fact is that people are living longer and older workers have much to contribute, such as years of knowledge and experience younger workers dont have yet. And just as older workers could be stuck in their ways, so can younger workers. Disease and accidents affect everyone and can happen to younger workers as well. Also, younger workers may be even less likely to stay with the company and more likely to demand higher wages. Older workers are disproportionately encouraged to take early retirement and are more likely to be affected than younger workers. Even though older workers have much to contribute to the workplace, ageism is likely to go on in the job market. If you are one of those that is over 40 and out there looking for a job, don't be discouraged. There is a company out there that will value you and will be better off for taking that chance on you. By Julie Austin