Age Discrimination At Work

Age discrimination used to be a problem and maybe sometimes it still is. For some people, when they are rejected for a role, it can feel like they are seen as being too old for the job but most of the time it is not the age that is a problem but the job match that is causing the rejection.

Age discrimination cases

There have been some recent high profile cases in the news where an older presenter has got replaced by a younger one. These high profile cases have send out a strong signal that age discrimination is not acceptable in any business

What actually is age discrimination?

Ageism, also called age discrimination is stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination. Taken from [Kirkpatrick, George R.; Katsiaficas, George N.; Kirkpatrick, Robert George; Mary Lou Emery (1987). Introduction to critical sociology. Ardent Media. p. 261. ISBN 9780829015959.]


From an employers’ point of view it is key to avoid any kind of discrimination. If it is recruitment, salary decisions, promotions or other elements, policies have to be in place to prevent discrimination. This is, however, not enough; policies need to be reviewed, followed by staff and controlled by management. Everyone is responsible as one big case could ruin a company’s reputation.

However don’t let age discrimination become an excuse. As long as you have the right skills and competencies for a job you should go and apply for it. There is nothing worse than passing up an opportunity, fooling yourself you’re too old, only to realise after the deadline that you should have applied for the job.

If you have got the will and the skills to do a good job, go for it. These days you do not need to show your age on your CV or Resume. It is not a requirement and employers or recruiters are not allowed to ask. If you are afraid or feel vulnerable, you can leave off some of the earlier, irrelevant studies from your CV. Also make sure you do not give the game away, for instance an email is a dead giveaway and needs to be avoided. Dates have no place in email addresses.

Think about your age in a positive way. If you are young, you have a long career ahead and you can bring plenty of value over time. If you are a bit older, you bring lots of experience. You should always try to look at the benefits for your employer in being the age you are.

Age discrimination is unlawful and you should not fear it as most employers have procedures in place to prevent it. In the unlikely event you do encounter a case of discrimination, the AgeUK website and ACAS website have great information to help you.

In conclusion, don’t talk yourself down because of your age; look at it in a positive way. The law is on your side and there is help out there when you need it. Don’t let a brilliant job pass under your nose because you think you’re too young or too old.

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Comments 2

  1. Johanna

    Hi Nik,
    I agree that age does not have to be a hindrance when trying to find a decent job. However, age discrimination is still rampant all over the world, and I can say from experience and through some of my friends’ experiences that many seemingly older persons applying for a job have been wrongly judged just because of their age. Sad, but it’s the way of the world, I guess.

    1. Nik Lemmens

      Hi Johanna,

      Yes, there are still companies that discriminate and they rather do it before you get the job then after. No-one likes to go to work every day facing some forms of discrimination or bullying. It is sad that this still happens but I am sure that more and more employers will see the benefits of experience. Youth unemployment is very high and lack of experience is a big factor. Older people often have lots of valuable experience other people cannot offer yet.

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