How to Counteract Ageism in the Workplace

Employees worldwide have felt discrimination and ageism in the workplace as they have grown older and worked with younger individuals. This type of prejudice is most common among people over 45 years of age. Older workers may be pressured by their younger managers and bosses to give up their positions for the younger generations. Supervisors and younger co-workers may think of the older employees as unnecessary and outdated due to their potential difficulties with new technologies, social media innovations, and other advancements.

However, ageism in the workplace is slowly being counteracted as company leaders start to take action to change the typical clichés surrounding older workers. Companies are beginning to undo this damage and emphasize the benefits and skills of senior level professionals. This article will cover many of the issues surrounding ageism in the workplace. You will find out about:


The Statistics Behind Ageism in the Workplace

While it is often expected that women are more likely to face discrimination as they age in the workplace, new research shows that there is little difference between the genders and ageism, according to Quartz at Work. The career website Fairygodboss surveyed more than 1,000 people over the age of 40 to see how people are affected by ageism in the workforce and whether men or women face it at larger levels.

The best result from this research shows that 72 percent of respondents have not faced ageism at work. However, among those who have faced ageism in the workplace, 13 percent of men stated that advanced age may have kept them from being hired while 12 percent of women faced the same outcome.

Additionally, 12 percent of men and 10 percent of women had a co-worker make a negative remark about their age. Also, 6 percent of both men and women had a manager make an inappropriate comment about their age. As many as 8 percent of men and 7 percent of women believe they were not promoted due to age discrimination.

Lastly, 5 percent of men and 4 percent of women state having been laid off from their jobs due to ageism in the workplace. One of the most surprising findings from this research study is that as many as 35 percent of men and 39 percent of women first experienced ageism at work before the age of 45.

This research also found that older workers who faced discrimination tended to take steps to look younger. For example, as many as 18 percent of respondents stated dyeing their hair to appear younger while 6 percent of survey takers dressed in a style differently from what they preferred. Yet, 78 percent did not take any common steps to look younger in the workplace.

In addition, 22 percent of respondents found two typical stereotypes about older workers present in the workplace including not having necessary technical knowledge or skills and not being open to learning new skills or new ideas. Nonetheless, three out of four survey takers stated they did not worry about being pushed out of their jobs before they are ready to leave.


Both corporations and governments will need to create new solutions for older workers especially as people tend to live longer than ever before and some are even re-entering the workforce after retiring.

The Issues Governments and Corporations Face as People Live Longer

Ageism in the workplace will need to be combatted sincerely especially since people are living and working longer than ever before. In the past, workers looked forward to the days they ended their career in order to enjoy retirement. However, today, many older workers are leaving the workforce and coming back to work a mere few years later, according to an article in the BBC.

In 1985, the amount of retirement-age workers in the labor force in the United States was 10 percent. Today, in 2019, this number has doubled to 20 percent. Additionally, research shows that as many as 40 percent of workers around this age had previously retired and have now re-entered the workforce. A similar outcome is seen in the United Kingdom as well.

There are many reasons for people to re-enter the workforce after retiring. Some are purely bored with retirement and feel isolated while work gives them a sense of purpose and a community to be around. Additionally, some individuals are merely living longer and are healthy enough to keep working.

Yet, many are coming back to work for mostly financial reasons. Those who lived in poverty or even many people in middle classes have not gathered high enough savings or pensions to spend their golden years in retirement. Additionally, rising healthcare costs among the elderly have also brought people back into the workforce.

Rising costs have especially impacted the elderly in South Korea where an inadequate pension system leaves about one-third of seniors working into their early 70s. With more people staying in the workforce longer, there are fewer jobs for younger generations and higher unemployment numbers that governments need to find solutions for. Various policy issues come up.


Are there potential opportunities in the worldwide economy for older workers who prefer to work part-time? Are there enough training opportunities for older workers to learn new skills and make a contribution to companies today? Both governments and corporations worldwide will need to manage these issues as more older individuals re-enter the workforce.

The Impact of Longer Life Spans on the Corporate World

In fact, today, there are more centenarians alive than ever before. According to the BBC, more than 50 percent of the children born in first world countries this year will live to 100 years of age. While longevity is excellent for the individual, it will make a large impact on the way society as a whole must function. Both companies and governments are not adequately prepared to meet the needs of a growing and aging population.

As people grow longer, they will spend more years being healthy enough to work. This means that many people will be able to work or even forced to work into their 80s. Additionally, more older people will move in and out of the workforce depending on whether they can sustain the financial impact of retirement. Furthermore, more people will have multiple careers throughout their lifetime.


As people live longer and more employees continue working during the typical retirement years, corporations will need to create solutions to combat ageism in the workplace. Below are some potential solutions for helping create a beneficial environment between the older and younger generations.

How Reverse Mentoring Could Benefit Younger and Older Generations

Younger generations can bring plenty of benefits to companies and one of the ways that older and younger workers can come together is to take part in reverse mentoring. The concept of reverse mentoring consists of pairing older executives with younger employees who will mentor them on various current trends, social media advances, and new technologies.

The movement of reverse mentoring first began in 1999 and was founded by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. Since new technologies and digital tools play such a significant role in how companies communicate and conduct their business, reverse mentoring is a vital concept to help older workers stay ahead of the trends taking place in the business world. Additionally, reverse mentoring can help end the stereotypes of ageism in the workplace.

Are you interested in implementing reverse mentoring at your company? Then follow these tips:

  • Match the right employees who both have an open mindset
  • Put together a support group or network for mentors
  • Create goals for the mentor-mentee relationship and set clear expectations
  • Give freedom to mentors and mentees to work together in whatever style or at whatever pace they prefer

Along with the benefits of reverse mentoring, job sharing may help older workers take on a semi-retirement while working part-time in their golden years.

Job Sharing Helps Employees of All Types Work Fewer Hours

Today, the hustle culture tends to leave people working up to 60 hours per week. However, job sharing, which is the concept of two people pairing together to split the tasks of one job, can help create a better work-life balance especially for older employees.

If you are an employer or manager attempting to implement a job-sharing program at your company, you will benefit from following the tips below.

  • Use technology to improve collaboration between workers
  • Analyze every program at your workplace
  • Delegate tasks effectively and define the goals of every project
  • Use automated workflow technology to remove manual processes
  • Utilize workflow tools and cloud software for faster, streamlined communication

If you are looking to implement job sharing programs and reverse mentoring to alleviate the negative impact of ageism in the workplace, you’ll benefit from adopting project management software.

Project Management Software Boosts Collaboration among Team Members

You will find that project management software such as the tool will help improve collaboration between your team members including between mentees and mentors as well as those who are taking part in a job-sharing program. This collaboration tool will keep your team motivated and working hard. project management software will provide a more transparent and streamlined communication platform while ensuring your workflow is straightforward with no bottlenecks. Click here for a free trial to see if software is right for your team.

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