Learn the reasons behind age discrimination and how HR can fight it.
The majority of employees over 45 years old who are looking for a job claim to have witnessed or experienced age discrimination at work.
The subtle forms of age discrimination
Few talent recruiters would dare to tell a candidate that he is ‘old’ for a job, however they resort to the use euphemisms such as:
The organization is searching for ‘digital natives’.
The wage offered is too low or is aimed at recent graduates.
Candidates for the job should not have more than 10 years of experience.
The 3 most common reasons for age discrimination
According to an Urban Institute investigation, age bias causes:
- Concern for the cost: there is a perception that older people will demand higher wages and special compensation plans.
- Insecurity for training older workers: it is believed that training them may be unprofitable for the company, because they could retire before the investment in their training is recovered.
- Prejudice against the elder, who are not familiar with new technologies and lack updated skills.
HR actions to avoid age discrimination
- It’s fair that an older person earns less money than a younger person, if they are new to the job.
- Design compensation schemes based on experience and skills that generate value for the company.
Promote the benefits of age diverse work teams
- Teams with different age members are safer and innovative.
- Seniors can provide a sense of security and wisdom to the team.
Grant management and mentoring roles
- More experienced employees are apt to take leadership positions, since their knowledge can be seen as an investment or an asset.
- The value of an experienced collaborator can be reflected in the training of the younger workers.
Teach HR staff how to recruit older people
- HR can invite employees who have already retired to share their experience or to collaborate again.
- Train and teach recruiters to identify age prejudices and how to eradicate them.
Reverse mentoring plans
- Younger employees can help to manage and train older workers, who have their own prejudices as well.