Ageism Is Rampant as Baby Boomers Battle Workplace Discrimination

Baby boomers are worried about facing mistreatment at work and getting overlooked for job opportunities because of their age.

Discrimination Between Demographics

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When it comes to finding new jobs, many demographics, from women to people of color to members of the LGBTQ+ community, worry that they will face discrimination during the hiring process. 

Two-thirds of Boomers Fear Ageism

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Today, 68% of baby boomers who have not yet retired are experiencing the same fear. The American Staffing Association polled workers by generation, and baby boomers were far and away the most worried about ageism. 

Gen Z Has the Opposite Concern

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In contrast, 48% of Gen Z face the same fear, which is still a significant number. These young adults are concerned that their youth makes them less desirable to employers. 

What Causes Employers to Be Ageist?

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In 2024, baby boomers will be between the ages of 60 and 78. There are several reasons that this age group is likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs. 

The Issue of Long-Term Hires

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Some employers worry about retainability because even the youngest boomers are so close to reaching retirement age.

Technology Barriers

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Technology is another barrier that has the potential to lead to discrimination. Many employers assume that older workers will have a knowledge gap when it comes to technology. 

Boomers Compete With Young Workers

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There is a documented difference in baby boomers’ comfort with modern technology versus millennials or Gen Z-ers who have hardly known a world without it. 

Playing Catch-Up to a Changing Culture

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While the youngest adults learned to use computers, tablets, and smartphones in school from a very young age, baby boomers have had to play catch-up.

What Does “Overqualified” Really Mean?

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Experts say that being passed over for jobs due to age is sometimes covered with the excuse that the prospective hire is “overqualified,” a term that workers are loathe to hear during the hiring process.

Boomers Less Likely to Job Hunt

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Other factors also set baby boomers apart from their younger colleagues. A cultural shift over the past couple of decades has made millennials and Gen Z-ers more likely to seek new employment opportunities every couple of years.

The Benefits of Staying Put

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On the opposite end of the spectrum are boomers and older members of Gen X, who prefer to stick with jobs long-term and reap the benefits of having seniority and experience within an organization. 

Boomers and Requesting Raises

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The ASA poll found that baby boomers are much less likely to ask for a raise or conduct a job search in 2024 than younger generations.

Even Gen X-ers are twice as likely to look for new employment compared to baby boomers.

The Hidden Value of the Baby Boomer

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Despite these differences, hiring experts insist that baby boomers have extremely high value and should not be looked over for jobs because of their age. 

Experience and Flexibility

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Some argue that the years of experience baby boomers bring with them and the fact that they’ve been forced to adapt to new norms during their careers sets them apart from their younger counterparts.

Are Boomers’ Salary Expectations Too High?

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There is also the issue of salary. Baby boomers are more likely to expect to be paid higher wages for jobs that younger candidates will do for less money. 

ASA Exec Issues Warning

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The CEO of the ASA, Richard Wahlquist, warned hiring managers not to overlook boomers, issuing a statement with a stern reminder of the illegalities of discrimination based on protected status. 

“Discrimination Based On Age Is Illegal”

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“It’s time for a paradigm shift in how the U.S. labor market views older workers,” Wahlquist’s statement read. “Discrimination based on age is illegal and cannot be tolerated.”

Advice for Avoiding Ageism

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Wahlquist encouraged systemic change in the way that boomers are perceived by hiring managers and employers, saying that “stepped-up legal enforcement” would not be enough to resolve the issue of ageism in the workplace.

A Plea for Change

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“Policy makers and HR leaders need to work together to correct and overcome the misconceptions, stereotypes, and biases — conscious and unconscious — of the past,” the statement continued.

The post Ageism Is Rampant as Baby Boomers Battle Workplace Discrimination first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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