With most of the focus being on old age discrimination, it is easy to forget younger generations can also be unfairly judged by their older peers.
Discrimination unfortunately happens in all walks of life but age based decisions are always felt hard in your business life. Being turned down for a job or struggling to get an interview can often feel as though businesses are making pre-determined decisions based purely on where you are in your career.
On a personal level, my father was made redundant from the company who he worked for nearly 30 years when he was in his early 50’s. Remembering back to how this personally affected his confidence (before he started his own business) really reiterates to me the importance of keeping an open-mind whenever I start an assignment with a new client. At the time it happened when I was in my teenage years, it did not dawn on me how being out of work can impact someone so heavily but the more you interview people who are facing the same challenges, the greater my understanding comes of how low my father must have felt.
There is no doubt global business has significantly improved over the past 10 years in creating a more inclusive and diverse demographic of employees. However, despite this point, there is still a long way to go before a person’s age should bear no impact on their chances of success when applying for a role.
My opinion is that unconscious discrimination in hiring is most commonplace at a team level. Where a culture and team fit is established which works, it is hard for a line manager to look outside of this as there is too much risk associated with hiring someone who doesn’t fit within the established collective. This fear of ‘breaking the norm’ holds back many companies from using skills and capabilities as a primary factor to hire.
Are you missing out on an exceptional person in your current hiring process?
The next time your hire for your team, remember to think through these five points to ensure you are considering all applicants irrespective of their age:
Recruiters and businesses need to keep an open mind to the skills and value that someone can offer at the latter end (and the very beginning) of their career. I am pleased to confirm our eldest worker has just turned 75 and consistently works over 40 hours per week. He came to us in 2010 and has been working in temporary assignments for the majority of the last six years.
At Park Street People, our youngest consultant is 21 and our eldest is in their late-50’s. This diverse range of ages perfectly fits our spectrum of clients, who value the different style and approach needed to provide them with a highly effective recruitment solution.
Before you make a judgement on that next CV, stop and ask yourself ‘Am I missing out on someone who can genuinely and positively add value to my team?’