Ageism: Hiring managers avoiding younger, older candidates

'Embracing age diversity and fostering an inclusive environment' can help companies tap into a wealth of talent and experience, says expert

Ageism: Hiring managers avoiding younger, older candidates

Hiring managers confess they have certain biases against recruiting Gen Z and senior candidates, indicating the prevalence of ageism in workplaces.

In a new survey from Resume Builder, 36% of 360 hiring managers in the U.S. admit that they have age bias against Gen Z candidates, or those aged between 18 and 27 years old.

Another 34% of 343 hiring managers also said they have concerns about hiring candidates over the age of 60.

Biases against job candidates also extend to their appearances, with hiring managers saying they are deterred from considering candidates with elderly (41%) or youthful (19%) appearances.

Stacie Haller, Resume Builder's chief career advisor, said the findings indicate that ageism remains a "prevalent issue" in the workforce, with employers warned that this could present a "significant disadvantage."

"By embracing age diversity and fostering an inclusive environment, companies can tap into a wealth of talent and experience while also attracting and retaining top performers," Haller said in a statement.

Biases against Gen Zs

According to the survey, there are various reasons why hiring managers are discouraged from hiring younger and older staff.

They cite younger employees' lack of experience and the likelihood of job-hopping as the top reasons for not hiring these candidates.

Haller said much of these sentiments were exacerbated by the challenges posed by the pandemic, which disrupted how entry-level candidates learn how to be successful in the workplace.

"Unlike previous generations, Gen Zers may not have had the same opportunities to acquire foundational skills through on-the-job learning due to remote work arrangements. Many companies and managers were unprepared to provide the necessary training and onboarding support tailored to this unique group, further exacerbating negative biases," Haller said.

"Recognising the distinct needs and potential contributions of this generation is essential for fostering a more inclusive and productive work environment for all parties involved. Age bias should not exist no matter the age of the candidate."

Biases against senior candidates

For senior candidates, hiring managers feel discouraged about employing them because of the likelihood of retirement and potential health issues.

"Outdated assumptions about retirement, health issues, and technological proficiency continue to plague many hiring decisions. However, it's clear that these beliefs are no longer aligned in today’s world," Haller said.

But remote work has shattered traditional barriers, according to Haller, who pointed out that it allowed employees to continue working beyond their previous retirement ages.

"This shift is driven by various factors, including the desire for continued financial stability and the opportunity to remain professionally engaged. In my private practice, I frequently witness older individuals embracing remote work as a means to extend their careers and continue to feel engaged," she said.

To get these findings, Resume Builder's survey polled a total of 1,000 hiring managers in the United States in March.

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