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Employers should combat ageism in hiring process

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33% of workers over 50 report age-related bias while seeking employment

In light of a recent survey highlighting ageism in the job market, a career coach is calling on employers to undertake some introspection and root out discrimination against older jobseekers.

Lori Colee, a certified career coach at iHire, has emphasized the need for employers to reflect on their hiring practices to ensure that candidates are evaluated solely on their skills and qualifications, promoting inclusivity across all generations.

The advice comes on the heels of iHire’s latest survey, which canvassed over a thousand jobseekers and uncovered distressing statistics regarding ageism in employment. A staggering 33.6% of respondents aged 50 and above reported experiencing age-related bias while seeking employment.

Among these respondents, the manifestations of ageism were distressingly common:

  • 53.8% noted that potential employers chose younger candidates despite their equal or superior qualifications.
  • 49.2% reported receiving no response to their job applications.
  • 47.7% stated that employers failed to follow up after interviews.
  • 22.1% mentioned being offered a lower salary than their worth.

These findings mirror a global trend, underscoring the persistence of ageism in workplaces around the world. In New Zealand, a staggering 71% of individuals over 50 believe that ageism is prevalent in the workplace, with 30% believing it has worsened over the past five years. Meanwhile, in Australia, 17% of HR professionals admit to actively excluding individuals aged 65 and over from job opportunities.

Age discrimination isn’t confined to the job search phase, either. A significant 23.1% of iHire’s respondents reported experiencing ageism while on the job. These experiences included:

  • 43.6% witnessing younger or less experienced colleagues being promoted over them.
  • 35.5% overhearing inappropriate age-related comments or questions from coworkers.
  • 34% hearing similar comments or questions from their managers.
  • 28.5% being overlooked for pay raises.
  • 22.1% feeling excluded from social events or team-building activities.

While older job candidates have been recognized as a valuable talent pool, the current job market landscape presents challenges. Lori Colee highlighted that older workers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure employment amid the shifting dynamics of the Great Resignation.

To combat ageism and secure more interviews, jobseekers can employ strategies such as removing dates from their resumes and adopting a hybrid format that highlights their most recent and relevant experiences, according to Colee.

Additionally, the survey respondents offered insights into how employers could prevent ageism during the hiring process and in the workplace:

  • 54.5% advocated for the use of “blind” recruitment tools that anonymize applications, such as removing dates from resumes.
  • 51.9% supported the incorporation of skills-based assessments or sample tests in the hiring process to allow candidates to showcase their qualifications.
  • 45.5% suggested providing anti-bias and diversity training for managers.
  • 45.5% recommended encouraging collaboration, team building, and mentorship opportunities across all age groups to foster inclusivity and eliminate age-related prejudices in the workplace.


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