Age-Related Discrimination Common in Workplaces, Studies Find

April 2024
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Nearly 80% of women have encountered age-related stereotypes, assumptions and discrimination in their careers, finds a recent survey by the advocacy organization Women of Influence+. The survey received responses from more than 1,250 women in 46 countries and various industries. 

More than 80% of respondents said they had witnessed women being treated differently in the workplace because of their age. The survey suggests that ageism is practiced at all levels of seniority, implicating recruiters, HR departments, co-workers, clients, managers and executives. 

Half of the respondents said they had been shown a lack of respect from colleagues, while 49% reported unfair treatment in promotion processes. Some 62% of women surveyed said they had felt increased stress as a result of experiencing ageism. A similar percentage reported that their capabilities had been second-guessed, while 55% said they had experienced lower self-confidence as a result of age-based discrimination. 

Nearly 60% of respondents said they had overcompensated or worked harder to prove their worth. About 58% said that age discrimination had impaired the progress of their careers. More than half (52.1%) of respondents reported they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work, while a similar share (50.9%) said they felt dissatisfied with their employer.

While the February 2024 research concluded that women suffer disproportionately from age-related discrimination in the workplace, other studies have found that ageism can affect men more than women. In a 2018 study by researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, assertive older women were found to have an easier time than assertive older men, who were perceived as more threatening.

Return to Current Issue Professional Growth | April 2024
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