Sunday, March 18, 2012

Australia: Research Suggests Age Discrimination Not Widespread

A national survey suggests that prejudice against older workers in Australia is not nearly as widespread as the community believes. As reported by Adele Horin in the Sydney Morning Herald, the research led by Philip Taylor, of Monash University, found that workers aged 55 and over are no more likely than those younger to be overlooked for promotion or professional development, ostracized by their workmates, or made to feel as if they should leave.

Taylor is quoted as saying that the "results are surprising given what is said about age discrimination by advocacy groups and policymakers." "Young and prime-age workers are just as likely to complain about these problems as older workers." However, Taylor did point out that the story can be different for older jobseekers trying to get back into the workforce, with recruitment agencies often failing to put forward older jobseekers and employers falling back on age stereotyping.
Professor Taylor said the problem with the barrage of negative publicity was that older workers internalised the messages: ''They believe they're over the hill when in fact older workers do not encounter the rampant age prejudice it is often assumed they do.''
Older workers who missed out on opportunities might attribute their lack of a success to ageism when the problem was lack of the appropriate skills, he said.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald "Age discrimination 'not widespread'" (March 17, 2012). See also "Does workplace age discrimination exist? New data from a survey of the Australian workforce? Brotherhood of St. Laurence seminar.

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