Sunday, 21 December 2014

Ageism and employment: roundup

Ageism and employment: roundup

By Janice Formichella

When it comes to discrimination, ageism is one of the few "acceptable" forms in the workplace today claim some. Older workers face greater challenges than younger employees when it comes to competing for roles due to prevailing attitudes and stereotypes that prefer youth.
Mature workers face enormous struggles that are largely misunderstood, especially when trying to gain employment later in life or attempting to make transitions in their careers.
The good news is that, slowly, more awareness is being raised about the benefits of retaining employees over the age of 50. Plus there is increasing advocacy about the diverse challenges older employees face.
There is opportunity for senior-aged workers and their advocates in this movement of awareness. Workers and businesses need to start asking: how will the issue be approached, where will the conversations take place, and importantly, who will be the thought leaders and trailblazers?
The time to address these questions and frame the discussion is now. People continue to age and live much longer whilst the need for employment is increasing giving rise to more and more attention to the older workforce in the west.
Here is a small sampling of the conversations taking place:
  • How do we combat ageism? Lucy Handley, of the organisation High50 suggests one place to start is to examine the various ways employers have fought sexism, and utilise those tactics to retain women over 50 in high-leadership positions. (Huffington Post)
  • It's no secret that one challenge faced in battling ageism is representations of older individuals by the media. BBC may be emerging as a thought leader, as they "attempt to address" the lack of senior-aged news presenters. This effort on their part is combined with their admission that it is a wrongly held belief that viewers prefer seeing younger people as newscasters. (Bidness ETC)
  • Older female workers fear discrimination, and few speak up about it. The irony? Post-menopausal women feel a greater sense of freedom and may have even more to offer employers in their later years, if employers can learn to understand their needs. (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • A seemingly obvious consequence of sexism is a growing number of female baby boomers who have been prevented from saving enough to support themselves through retirement. Compounding the issue is the barriers to work older employees are facing. The result is increasing poverty among older women. (The Star Observer)

1 comment:

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