Age bias steadily increases in the workplace when management discriminates older workers by disregarding their wealth of experience and contributions to the organization.
This discrimination stems from the belief that these workers, age 50 and above, are difficult to train, and adverse to risks and changes in the workplace. Does age negate one’s education and experience? Is it reason enough for disqualifying people?
Whether directly or indirectly, prejudice has the same end result – these employees get bypassed for promotions, training, and opportunities. They are manipulated into feeling incompetent and outdated; forced to consider early retirement as the alternative.
The Case For Recycled Knowledge
Across the world, companies openly discriminate based on age. They advertise jobs that disqualify older applicants, and are openly biased towards those in the workforce.
Age discrimination is against the law, bad for business and costly for employers. Disregarding the decades of wisdom and industry experience possessed by these workers is unwise and detrimental for business growth.
These 50+ employees with good records suddenly have their work questioned and criticized, with their poor performance blamed on their age. They reassigned mundane tasks – all in their drive to frustrate them into willingly resigning.
The Wrong Narrative
Most employers believe that employees over the age of 50 are not technologically savvy, resistant to change, less energetic and creative, focusing on their health and families, as opposed to business growth.
They view older workers as poor returns on investment, and a cost to the organization compared to younger workers.
This narrative is false as younger workers have a higher turnover rate, are quick to get frustrated over working policies, and move across industries faster than older workers.
It is important to invest in the development of older employees as they have a closer connection to the company, and have little reason to move around.
The Way Forward
Employers have to create an open and equitable workplace for employees; an environment that is free from discrimination.
Workers of all ages are relevant and important to the company, as their combined contributions keeps the business open. It is important to remember that employees reach their full potential when they feel valued; as productivity levels will fall if otherwise.
Governments worldwide need to introduce, enforce and closely monitor national laws to combat age discrimination in the workplace. Employees should feel inclusive irrespective of their age.
It is necessary to abolish the retirement age policy to encourage vibrant and productive employees remain and share their amassed knowledge and experience with younger employees.
By making retirement voluntary, only less productive workers, and those struggling to cope with the rigors of work will be considered.
Older workers play a significant role in mentoring younger employees and aiding in their training and development.
The workplace should be conducive for every employee, and stereotyping and discriminating on the basis of age has got to stop.