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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

New study highlights trends in ageism

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2019 | Blog

As ageism continues to be a major problem in several industries, it is important to compare and contrast as much research on the subject so we can make the workplace safer for several older Colorado workers. Recently, a career site for women surveyed 1,000 people over 40 years old to observe the current state of the issue and if there were any major differences between men and women.

They found that around 70 percent of the respondents have not personally experienced ageism at work and that the percentages were nearly equal between both genders. While that sounds encouraging, their percentages for those who observed ageism was almost split, and it doesn’t have as much respondents as the AARP survey last year that found nearly 61 percent of people 45 and older observe or experience age discrimination.

Despite this, the new survey did feature unique questions that could help employers understand different aspects about the controversial subject so they can make the workplace more inviting.

Many people under 45 experience ageism

One of the more surprising finds of the survey came when the company asked how old workers were when they first sensed age discrimination at work. While over 50 percent stated they experienced it between ages 45 to 59, the percentages for men and women who experienced it younger than 45 was respectively 35 and 39 percent.

This means that many younger works either witness older employees mistreated for their age or even personally experience it themselves from a company that wants fresh faces. It can be discouraging to workers to know that they can get fired for their older age even when they haven’t turned 50 yet.

Workers try to appear younger for their jobs

Around 22 percent of the respondents claim they rely on some technique to make them look younger at work. Out of the different strategies, the most popular techniques are hair dye or putting on different clothes that younger people wear.

While the differences between genders were minimal in this survey, women were nearly two times more likely to use dye at the sight of a gray hair. It’s concerning to see so many workers are worried that simply looking older could cost them a promotion or even a job itself. They shouldn’t have to worry so much about a couple of wrinkles in front of their boss.

Common negative stereotypes

Out of the common stereotypes that these older workers receive for their age, most of it is centered around their experience and knowledge rather than their physicality or productivity. The top criticisms they receive are about their technology knowledge, not being willing or able to learn new skills and having a higher salary than younger workers.

These preconceived notions are toxic to a workplace’s development. Many employees are hired for their adaptability, and older workers are no different. Employers should give workers a fair chance before determining if they truly lack enough knowledge about the technology they use or if they truly refuse to change with the times.

If a Colorado employer has given their workers as much of a fair shot as they could, then they should seek legal assistance if they face any accusations of age discrimination for terminating their employment.

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