Why ageism is the most 'acceptable' form of workplace discrimination
- Ageism rose by 44% from 1999 to 2014, according to research cited by LinkedIn Pulse. Michael North, and associate professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, told LinkedIn that age discrimination is on the rise and that it is generally more socially acceptable than other forms of bias.
- Ageism is even affecting people in their 30s and 40s, says LinkedIn. Workers in these categories have skills and experience that command higher wages. Companies find they can get 20-year-olds to do the job for less money. Age discrimination is hard to prove because it’s often indistinguishable from pay issues.
- North told LinkedIn that the problem will get worse by 2022 when the workplace will include more generations competing for jobs. Generation Z will be emerging on the work scene, putting more pressure on previous generations.
Many boomers are working longer because, financially, they don't have a choice. However, younger workers will likely win out; even older workers' experience can’t justify the higher pay they command, so they’ll be onboarded at lower wages.
Ageism is more blatant in some industries over others. Tech companies run by millennials tend to bypass older workers, often using dog-whistle recruiting slogans such as: “We’re looking for an energetic person who can work in this fast-paced company.” The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers over 40, and employers must make sure they’re in compliance regardless of their hiring preference.
To help workers of all generations better their financial and life goals, HR leaders should also discuss their plans to educate employees about saving and retirement options, which both boomers and their millennial cohorts say is a top ask they'd make to their employer.