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33.6% of Candidates Over 50 Have Experienced Ageism

A new survey conducted by iHire suggests that one in three U.S. workers over 50 years old (33.6%) believes they have experienced ageism in their job search. Another 23.1% experienced ageism at work or on the job as more older Americans return to the workforce or delay retirement.

More than half (53.8%) of respondents who had experienced ageism during their job search said a potential employer chose a candidate younger than them for a job although they were equally or more qualified. Another 49.2% said an employer did not respond to their application, 47.7% said an employer did not get back to them after an interview, and 22.1% were offered a lower salary than what they are worth.

Among those respondents who had experienced ageism at work or on the job, 43.6% said a younger or less experienced employee was promoted instead of them, 28.5% have been overlooked for or denied a pay raise and 22.1% were excluded from certain social events or team-building activities. Other issues included 35.5% who said a coworker made a comment or asked an inappropriate question about their age, and 34.0% said a manager did the same.

When asked what employers could do to prevent ageism in the workplace or during the hiring process:

  • 54.5% of survey participants said employers should use “blind” recruiting tools that anonymize applications (e.g., remove dates from resumes).
  • 51.9% said skills-based assessments or work sample tests should be used in the hiring process for candidates to prove their qualifications.
  • 45.5% suggested employers provide anti-bias and/or diversity training for managers.
  • 45.5% wanted employers to encourage collaboration, team building, and mentorship opportunities across all age groups.

“While the labor market is tight overall, older workers find it more difficult to gain traction,” said Lori Cole, iHire Certified Career Coach and Brand Ambassador. “To combat ageism and get more interviews, job seekers can try tactics such as removing dates from their resumes and utilizing a hybrid format highlighting their most recent and relevant experience. However, employers must do some soul searching to ensure each candidate is evaluated based on having the skills to do the job and that their work environment is inclusive across all generations.”


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