Time to ditch the age stereotypes when hiring and retaining workers. Whether a person is young or old has no bearing on their suitability for a postition. Stereotypes and suggested generational clashes created by media stories have not helped employers realise this. Taking an age neutral approach to workplace policy is the answer. Philip Taylor says, “There’s very little evidence to support the notion that older workers perform better than younger workers or younger workers perform better than older workers”. Read Philip Taylor’s article in the CPA newsletter and get his tips for employing older workers and the links to his research.
A new report by Per Capita about employment and older people advises that stereotyping, even if positive, is still stereotyping and not helpful for employers. Indeed, the report reminds us that ageism can be applied to any age group, but more recently it has been captured in policy agendas as a term belonging older people. The research for the report, “What’s Age Got to Do With It?“, was carried out by Philip Taylor* and Warwick Smith. The report challenges some of the notions in the Willing to Work report by the Human Rights Commission. There is an Easy English version as well. It also suggests that ageing advocates might like to rethink some of their messages.
“Age-based stereotypes (such as loyal, reliable, wise) are often used by older people’s advocates but recent research has shown that these stereotypes may be reinforcing already existing negative views of older workers among employers because these are not the traits they are primarily looking for in employees. This has potentially important implications for efforts to overcome age discrimination by employers. Not only are older workers being promoted in terms of qualities that employers are already more likely to ascribe to them, such qualities are given a lower weighting in terms of employment decisions that take account of productivity.”
*Professor Philip Taylor is a Director of CUDA