The workplace is where everyone irrespective of their differences should be treated equally. But unfortunately, along with gender biases, there are other prejudices in workspaces. One among them which needs to be addressed is ‘Ageism’.
Take any firm and just analyse on what age category does each employee falls under. No doubt that most of them are in their twenties or thirties. No one needs to hire aged people. Especially in tech industries, the median age of an employee is 30. And the saddest part of ageism is that when an employee turns 45, the chances of getting not recruited and a decline in pay scale is high.
What is age discrimination in the workplace?
Ageism or age discrimination is an unfair treatment of someone who is older than 40 only because of the age. Under the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, it is illegal for any company to discriminate an employee on age. The law strictly prohibits any sort of discrimination from hiring to payment.
A year back, such an issue was filed against PwC in federal court. The case became a hot topic as many aged people came against PwC saying that they were discriminated solely due to age and many youngsters were hired instead of them.
It is okay for any firm to look for young minds. It is legal too to hire freshers from campuses. But it becomes illegal when all the openings are only accessible for the younger workforce like millennials and Gen Z. Ageism isn’t happening alone in hiring practices, but even IBM and Google were alleged of age discrimination after a huge number of aged employees were laid-off from them just to make their workforce younger.
And if any company thinks that they can build a vibrant atmosphere by terminating old employees, it’s an absurd thought. Ageism can affect the company culture a lot.
Ageism in hiring:
It will badly affect the business as an entire generation is excluded from getting hired. This will limit the company’s diversity and talent. An employer should keep in mind the fact that older employees have years of expertise and experience to share with the company that they work for. They may be also having wide network of connections and communications which can help the companies to expand. Employees must be hired on their qualification and not just because they are young.
Ageism in promotions:
It is natural for a senior employee to look for promotion. But what happens today is that they are not valued and are overlooked for promotions despite their qualifications and leadership. There is no point in promoting someone less experienced over someone who deserves it and this will lead to disengaged employment. Disengaged employees are expensive to maintain, therefore no companies need them.
Terminating employees on their age creates a sense of fear and uncertainty in them. This will ruin the company culture and goodwill. This fear can make the older employees leave the company on their own. The cost of hiring is much more expensive than retaining one.
How to consider them?
These are some simple methods by which you can make the older employees at ease:
1. Don’t call them ‘dad’ or ‘mom’ of office.
2. Create an inclusive environment.
3. Be open about layoffs and hiring practices.
4. Recognize them often.
5. Use performance management software.
6. Conduct frequent surveys and feedback.
7. Consider their opinions.
8. Integrate their ideas into the new mode of working.
9. Consider their health conditions and help if needed.
10. Encourage personal talks and communication within all age groups.