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Survey Results: Ageism Still Abounds
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Survey Results: Ageism Still Abounds

Last month, we asked for your input on a survey about ageism. Thanks to your thoughtful responses, we were able to collect and analyze data on what ageism looks like for those experiencing it firsthand. 

Key Findings:

  • 89% of respondents said they see ageism most often in the workplace. 10% said they see it most in entertainment and media, and just 1% said it’s most common in the household.
  • 86% of respondents see ageism predominantly happening at the expense of older adults. 14% said they see both older and younger people facing age discrimination.

We also collected robust qualitative results, and we’ve curated some of the most thorough first-hand accounts of ageism to share with our readers below. The vast majority reflect ageism in the workplace.

Several respondents talked about layoffs. Many experienced being replaced by younger, less expensive employees, and signing severance agreements that prevent them from suing for ageism.

“I had a horrible experience with a long time employer who literally told staff that he was going  to hire millennials at lower compensation and he carried his plan over a two year period of time firing older workers and replacing them with younger people. The leader of this organization abused and ridiculed me and another older employer hoping we would quit. We were both loyal to the organization and were fired. When others unexpectedly quit, this leader used untrue loyalty baiting tactics to take full advantage of our experience only to fire us when he found his younger, lower cost replacements.  It was the most humiliating experience I have ever had in my professional career. Unfortunately I signed a severance agreement that prevents me from suing this employer for ageism.”

“It is on display everyday through advertising, social media and the news media. It manifests itself in the workplace, which has both negative financial and psychological well-being consequences for older people. Been part of a recent layoff (with multiple people over 55). Asked to sign a waiver to not sue for Ageism, in order to receive severance pay.”

“New contractor to lead our department. He was in his 20's and looked for young people to fill spots for the 'image' he had in mind. Sad. I had a lot to give and had held the dept. together for a year through upheaval. He assumed I was unable to get on board with new ideas, using past workshop & inspirational speakers' ideas - which I was well aware of - read the books, knew the approach, etc., which he wanted to ignore. I was out of work for a year after that.” 

Many others shared frustrating interviewing experiences. Despite meeting all the listed qualifications for a position and offering years of experience, many older applicants are finding themselves turned away inexplicably.  

“On 4 separate occasions I've had recruiters or workplace hiring staff tell me I was actually too old for the position.  Mind you, these were C-Level positions.  In fact, I told one workplace HR manager that this was against the law and her comment (being she was in her twenties) was ‘Oh, I didn't realize that.’”

“I have had numerous glowing interviews that have led to dead silence and delays in responding. I cannot help but think that ageism has crept into these events.”

“During an interview at Suitmart, I was asked my age and after replying with my age I was told that she, the manager interviewing, needed someone able to lift heavy boxes. Not hired and did not report.” 

“I find that a large number of companies will not want to speak with people over the age of 50. They think it would cost them more money, and that they want younger people because they are cheaper to hire and can train. But the company loses out on all the wisdom a person brings to the situation.” 

“After 31 years I took out a buyout from a good company. I have tons of experience and successful work history but when I apply it’s denied due to lack of qualifications even when in many cases I exceed them.  They require you to include the date you graduated either college or HS which should not be allowed.”

The first step to combating these trends is becoming aware of them. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Age Friendly Advisor community.

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Comments (2)
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Unfortunately bullying and Nationality is still a major concern for me and it's in and out of the workplace, very very sad, after all of the hard work and responsibilities over the years , rude behaviour and NO RESPECT! unfortunately it's a generation issue and social ethics, just my experiences.

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I am 68 years young and getting older is very taxing emotionally. We are diminished, degraded, discriminated by the very society we helped create and some of us fought for and saw friends die because when told to report for service we did so! I am a hypnotherapist PhD, MS Psychology, MA in Education, BA Political Science. I mention this because I speak to people over 55 years of age many times every week! The age at which the loss of social value and self worth usually happens when a person reaches their 50's. It does depend on how you look, I have pure white hair, how old their face looks and GOD forbid you share ailments on your application! I am going to write an article relative to the mental and physical anguish that a person not only feels but has actual physical and mental illness from the loss of self worth many of us feel. The hopelessness , anger, emptyness, lack of earned respect and simply being a discarded human being leads some to suicide, a loss of will to live and self removal from society. Now many of us understand the behavior of " The old man down the street who yelled at us , when we were children and walked on his grass!" That was one of the few things that he could control, and give him SOME PRIDE! I hope that based on this brief and very personal experience and opinion from a semi retired person in the mental health field you would consider allowing me to send an article on this subject that you might print for public view IF you feel it would assist the educating of others of what it is like to, GROW OLD in America! Thank You For Caring ! Dr. Jack Grenan Blessed survivor of 4th stage colon cancer, Sepsis, peratinitus, 106 degree fever for 6 months, a 4 month coma with the fever, double Pneumonia, Heart, lung and kidney failure......OH & I DIED & WENT TO THE GATES! But that is another story for another time! LOL When You stop laughing you are in big trouble!

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