Ageism In The Workplace

by Guest Author, Kavya Pillai

Growing older doesn’t negatively impact our performance, productivity or skills. Unfortunately, several companies see things differently. While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids ageism in the workplace, employers consistently discriminate against older workers. When businesses judge candidates based on age, they miss out on a highly experienced talent pool, as well as the unique benefits and skills older workers can bring.

Let’s define terms, Ageism in the workplace is when a candidate or employee is discriminated against because of their age. Although ageism can be experienced by both younger and older workers, it most commonly impacts those who are over 45 years of age. It includes anything from denying applicants because they’re close to retirement to giving an older employee’s responsibilities to a younger worker.

Workplace age discrimination stems from misconceptions about the abilities and dedication of older workers. In reality, there are several benefits to hiring and retaining employees of all ages. Here are a few key advantages of obtaining older employees.

1. Increased loyalty

While young professionals may be open to different career paths, older workers typically have a more established idea of what they want to do. According to a 2019 BLS survey, baby boomers (those born between 1957 and 1964) had approximately 12 jobs from ages 18 to 52; however, nearly half of these jobs were held before age 25. This indicates that, as workers age, they’re more likely to remain with the same company.

2. Valuable experience

Many older workers have spent decades building industry-relevant experience and skills. Employing people with high levels of expertise can enhance your business and even help improve the skills of less-experienced workers. It’s common for older employees to serve as workplace mentors.In addition to accumulating experience, older workers often establish networks of clients and contacts that can prove useful to your business. For example, if you run a marketing firm, hiring an employee who has connections with potential marketing clients could pay off in the future.

3. Different perspectives and ideas

Like race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, age is an important factor in building diverse teams. Increased workplace diversity has been linked to higher creativity, employee engagement and productivity.Maintaining a diverse workplace also encourages multiple viewpoints, which leads to better decision-making and problem-solving. For example, the perspective of a 60-year-old can provide insight that a younger employee may not. Having more perspectives in the office boosts the potential for innovation and success.

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About the author: Kavya Pillai is a journalist and writer who specializes in business and entrepreneurship. She is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Media, where she covers topics such as emerging trends, celebrity brands, and workplace culture. Her work has also been featured in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science.

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