Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ageism in the Workplace ~ Discover Why you need to Hire and Retain Older Workers

Is Your Company Ready to Embrace Older Workers?

Did You Know……

"According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population —most notably, people ages 65 to 74 —through 2024k with an 86% increase in workers  over 75 . In comparison, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over 5% in the 2014–24 decade". Source1

What does this surge in older workers and job applicants mean for today’s workplace?

When it comes to hiring and the workplace, companies need to do what they can to be fair and equitable ~ not just in dealing with traditional “protected classes”, but also in how they handle older job applicants and employees once they are part of your workforce.

The question is ~ are your company’s hiring and employment practices up to the task?

Is “Ageism” the new Discrimination? “Tweet This”!

According to recent studies by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and many others, “Age discrimination is alive and well in the digital age, despite 50 years of laws intended to protect older Americans’ right to work. In fact, it’s thriving, with 20,857 such complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2016 alone, AARP states on its website.

A recent study that looked at more than 40,000 job applicant profiles found statistical evidence of age discrimination in hiring—discrimination against both women and men. Older applicants—those 64 to 66 years of age—experience more age discrimination than middle-age applicants ages 49 to 51, while women—especially older women, even those of middle age—experience more age discrimination in hiring than men do, the study indicated.” Source2

Thanks to better healthcare and lifestyle changes, people are living longer than ever before. Many are more active and vital long past their 60s and they want to keep doing what they love ~ and for some, that means continuing to work, or even embarking on a new career!

But instead of being welcomed and encouraged, many are being faced with a subtle roadblock ~ their age is being held against them.

“A new data analysis by ProPublica and the Urban Institute shows more than half of older U.S. workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.” Source3

And Ageism is worse in some industries more than others.

Over 40% of Tech Workers worry about Ageism

“Not only do employees witness an imbalance in age representation, but it is also causing anxiety among some workers.

Our survey of tech workers found that close to half of respondents (43%) worry about losing their job because of their age. Even more troubling, nearly one 5th (18%) say they worry about it “all the time.”.

It’s there in the cliched but widespread perception that employees need to be young to have a good grasp of the latest technology. And it’s there in startup cultures that push for long hours and low pay, which are hardly friendly to older workers with families. And as firms battle to attract young talent with ever more extravagant perks, they can unintentionally create an environment and culture that excludes older workers".

The fact remains that “retirement” is no longer at 62 or even 65 for a variety of reasons.

Some may find that they simply can’t afford to retire. Lack of pensions, rising healthcare and insurance costs, and increasing taxes all can factor into this decision to keep working.

Others simply love what they do. Their career gives them personal satisfaction and speaks to their desire to stay relevant and productive.

Now it’s time to get employers on board.

Employers Lose when they won’t Hire Older Workers! “Tweet This”

While many companies have anti-discrimination policies in place that include age, it often becomes lost in the day to day. The time is now for employers to Practice what you Preach! 

Your actions, especially when it comes to hiring, must follow the guidelines both in your policy and those that exist within local, county, state, and federal laws.

It is important that you show a strong dedication to hiring for qualifications and fitness for the job no matter the age, sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation of your applicants. 

You can accomplish this by:

  • Using age-inclusive language in your hiring and employment practices, including job postings.
  • Focusing on establishing benefits that take into consideration the wants and needs of your diverse workforce.
  • Creating a welcoming and innovative working environment that encourages collaboration.

“In order to really succeed in creating an innovative and welcoming environment, you (companies) need a mixed workforce. Having both experienced and skilled employees at all levels is key.

Creating an atmosphere where each generation of employees can learn from the other is one that will thrive and prosper. This results in the best of both worlds ~ a marriage between the tried and true and the up and coming.

This type of culture embraces experience while recognizing the benefits of introducing new talent and ideas. It is also the perfect way of establishing a strong company succession plan ~ something that every successful company needs”; excerpt from “Hiring? What You Should Do Now to Attract the New Hires You Need!”.

Do so, and this is what you will gain ~ a diverse group of employees that provide much needed skills, knowledge, and experience to your workplace.

In addition, building a diverse workforce is an amazing way to attract and retain the best hires.

It creates an environment filled with varying ideas, skills, and experience. The key is to get your diverse employees working as a team and sharing their knowledge and skills to better themselves and your company.

A great way to start is to establish a strong Mentoring Program.

Mentoring allows employees of different ages and backgrounds a better chance to know and learn from each other.

“While some businesses already understand the benefits of a strong internal Mentoring program, not all are as yet so savvy".

Business owners would be wise to embrace the idea of Mentoring. It is a great way to “onboard” new hires, especially those who have recently graduated and interns just entering the workforce. It can also be valuable as a way to get existing employees ready for promotion.” 

Establishing mentoring relationships between diverse employees, and that includes different ages, helps spread your employees’ knowledge and skill pool throughout your workforce!

Learn more about the value of Mentoring in your workplace in “Are You Ready to be a Mentor?”.

The fact is, rather than retire at age 65, more older Americans are remaining in or returning to the workforce. Some are continuing to work due to longer life expectancies, health expenses or financial insecurity. Others simply enjoy the social interaction and the fulfillment and sense of identity work provides.

In order to succeed, it is vital that your workplace embrace them. Is your company ready?

Authored by     

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Source 1* Older Workers: Labor Force Trends 

Source 2* Despite Laws intended to Prevent it, Age Discrimination ‘Alive and Well 

Source 3* If You're over 50, Chances are the decision to Leave a Job won't be Yours

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