Workplace Age Discrimination Targets Workers as Young as 45, Study Reveals
A study several years ago showed that 30 percent of people over age 53 face some kind of discrimination due to their age. Newer studies now show that age discrimination even affects employees 45 and older.
According to the new study, people 45 or older who are out of a job will now remain unemployed for longer periods than their younger competitors. This represents a change since before the Great Recession. Older workers were unemployed an average of 4.5 weeks less than people under 45 pre-recession, but six weeks longer during the recession and five weeks longer post-downturn.
False Stereotypes Likely Contribute to Workplace Age Discrimination, Researchers Note
With workplace age discrimination trickling down to affect even workers in their late 40s and early 50s, the researchers posited that persisting, false stereotypes about older workers are a significant contributing factor.
In particular, some of the false stereotypes identified by researchers included that older workers are:
- Not good with technology and unwilling to adapt
- More difficult to work with because they are less flexible with job assignments/duties
- More likely to miss work because they tend to get sick more often (due to age-related health problems).
Speaking about the challenges of overcoming workplace age discrimination, Dr. Keri Spooner, a lead study author who works in the Management Discipline Group at UTS, has explained that:
We’ve made good progress blending people from different races and cultures into harmonious workplaces. Age is a bigger challenge but … people have to get used to the idea that a person who is wrinkled or has white hair still has every right to be working and is just as likely as the next person to do a good job.
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