Before you discard the hidden gems in your workforce...
As someone who’s experienced ageism both as an employee and a manager, I’ve witnessed first-hand the challenges that individuals of a certain age face in the workplace. Age discrimination is one such topic that I’ve encountered and continue to observe, both in my career and beyond. From line managers questioning my ability to adapt to new technologies to younger team members doubting my innovative contributions, shedding light on the deeply ingrained issue of ageism. This bias extends beyond the workplace and into the job search, where older candidates often face barriers during the recruitment process. It’s a subject that touches the lives of so many people, and in the last 2 days I’ve spoken to 2 fantastic women who’ve been at the top of their game in the skincare industry for decades, who now find themselves unable to secure work. Both believe this to be because of their age and the assumption that they will be too expensive to employ. Both are aware of the salaries for the jobs they are applying for and happy to accept the terms but just aren’t being given the chance to discuss it at interview. They are often more qualified and experienced than the people who would be employing them, who don’t seem to grasp what an incredible support and mentoring opportunity they could have, to further their own careers.
In the pursuit of building successful businesses, it’s crucial to recognise the value that mature women bring to the workplace. Experience, commitment and untapped potential often lie hidden behind stereotypes and assumptions.
Decades of wisdom and diverse experiences make for innovative problem-solving and insightful leadership. Their knowledge can be your company’s greatest asset.
The dedication and loyalty of mature women is unwavering. Their commitment to personal growth and professional excellence is an inspiration to us all.
The varied life experiences of mature women bring fresh perspectives to the table, contributing to more comprehensive and creative solutions. They’ve often weathered storms and emerge stronger. Their resilience is a valuable asset in overcoming business challenges and driving success.
When are we going to stop the preconceived notions that keep us from harnessing this incredible talent pool. Research shows that the youngest employees (ages 18-24 years), who in theory should be fitter and stronger take more sick days compared to those aged 54-65 years of age.
Although the Equality Act 2010 intended to protect mature employees a government report found that discrimination, bias and outdated practises on age grounds very much continues to be in place across the UK workforce. The reality is discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation is still alive and kicking, even though the number of older people in the workplace is expected to continue rising over the next 20 years. It’s pretty much the same across Europe with the protections in place under the ECHR highlighting that this ‘protection remains limited in scope and application.’ And more than 40% of Americans over the age of 40 say they’ve experienced age discrimination at work in the last 3 years.
It’s worth remembering that if you’re 40 and hiring on behalf of your company you’re likely to start facing ageism in your workplace sooner than you think. Me personally I like to collaborate with women that offer a unique well of knowledge and experience, providing valuable insights into avoiding the mistakes of the past. Their presence offers the opportunity to learn from history and build a stronger, more resilient future. Having these experienced experts by your side can guide you through uncharted territory, offering solutions honed through years of trials and triumphs. Furthermore, their presence provides an incredible opportunity for personal development and mentorship, ensuring that the wisdom of one generation is seamlessly passed onto the next, and future proofing the business. It’s a dynamic exchange of knowledge, where everyone benefits, and the path forward becomes clearer and more secure. Something to consider next time discarding a potential candidate purely on their age.
Let’s re-evaluate our recruitment process and work towards a more inclusive and equitable future where age is seen as an asset, not an obstacle in the professional world and beyond.