Research Roundup: Study Reveals Workplace Ageism is a Pressing Problem

Discrimination based on age is becoming an increasing problem for employees in the U.S. as the demographic of workers aged 55 and older grows. Hiscox’s 2019 Ageism in the Workplace Study lays out the prominence of ageism, outlines its effects, and suggests possible solutions to create diverse, intergenerational workplaces with varied experience levels and points of view.

By 2024, the study begins, workers aged 55 and older will represent 25% of the country’s workforce. The study, which surveyed 400 full-time workers across the country, found that 67% of surveyed workers aged 40-65 plan to continue to work after they turn 66. It also found 44% of respondents experienced or knew someone who experienced ageist discrimination in the workplace. One in five reported experiencing it themselves.

The study also found that though discrimination based on age is a widespread issue, it is vastly underreported. Forty percent of those who reported experiencing ageism in the workplace reported it. Of the majority who did not report the incidents, 54% did not complain for fear of creating a hostile work environment, and 24% did not know how to file a complaint. Similarly, though 37% of respondents reported witnessing ageism, 51% did not report it. Sixty-two percent of witnesses did not report for fear of retaliation from their employers. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids discrimination and harassment on the basis of age.

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