At the Custom Group of Companies, we talk a lot about emphasizing diversity in our hiring practices. Our client businesses appreciate that diversity in hiring has a real bottom line benefit in addition to just being the right thing to do. But one area of diversity we sometimes miss is the practice of hiring all ages to do the job. Ageism in hiring is a real problem; a recent study shows workers over 40 are only about half as likely as younger workers to get the job if employers can discern their age. If you’re seeking to truly diversify your employee base, here’s what you want to know about the unseemly practice of ageism in hiring.
Hiring and Age—What the Data Shows
The New Year launched with a new study on hiring practices that show companies seem to be discriminating against older Americans. The research looked at a national restaurant chain which allowed job candidates to initially to fill out an application for a job in-person. So, their age was clearly seen. The restaurant chain then tried a new system, which took blinded applications online. While the online screening has more than 100 questions, none were geared toward age.
The study ultimately found that when managers could determine the age range of the applicant was over 40-years old, those candidates were between 45 and 65% less likely to get a job offer compared to those clearly under age 40. The new system allowed more older candidates to pass through the job screening process because they had more experience than younger candidates. The researchers commented, “This set of results is strongly consistent with age discrimination.”
Separate research from the Economic Policy Institute seems to reinforce that older candidates are often discriminated against in their job search. They found that workers over age 50 are more likely to work as independent contractors because they are unable to overcome age discrimination in their attempts to find a full-time traditional position. The volume of independent contractors aged 55 to 64 increased by 22.9% in 2017. For those over 65 that number roles to 14.1%.
What This Means for Your Business
Obviously, discrimination of any sort is wrong, so it’s important for companies to take steps to ensure that no conscious or unconscious biases work their way into your hiring practices. The Society for Human Resources (SHRM) suggests a process of examining your recruiting practices by asking yourself the following questions:
- Examine your recruitment practices to look for hidden signs of ageism. For example, are all of the people on your website youthful looking? Is your interview panel age diverse? Do your applications ask for age-related details such as the year the candidate graduated from college?
- Is age part of your diversity and inclusion mission and best practices across your company? Are there cultural practices or policies that may feature assumptions about older workers such as, they may want higher income or they won’t be able to keep up or they will be slower at learning new technology?
Are You Searching for Top Talent?
Organizations seeking to diversify their candidate pool should talk with the Custom Group of Companies. We work hard to bring you the most inclusive types of candidates that are best-in-class in all areas. We can help you meet your hiring goals. Call on us.
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