Ageism in the Workplace is Real: Here’s What You Can Do About It

Alex Howe

Pardon the expression, but ageism is an age-old problem. Employers want fresh-faced young applicants. And it doesn’t hurt that they can pay them less than more seasoned workers.

The best way to know how individual companies are doing on this issue is the same as ever: ask their actual employees. Ageism is specifically mentioned by many kununu reviewers, and not coincidentally, they usually rate those companies poorly. This reviewer gave Disability Rights Tennessee a 1.89 overall, for example (out of 5). This company got a 1.87; this one got a 1.00.

What Should You Do About It?

Fortune advises removing anything on your resume earlier than the year 2000—period. “Trimming the early experience from your résumé might feel dishonest, but the document isn’t supposed to be comprehensive.” Oof. Their suggestion for the interview: expect resistance, but insist that you bring a lot of value (despite not being a spring chicken).

If anything, the article is a sign of how severe the problem still is: their advice assumes that there’s nothing we can do about ageism itself. This Forbes piece is more hopeful, and points toward a way forward: “Ageism is the perfect target for collective advocacy because it affects everyone. That very attribute […] means that we undermine ageism when people of all ages show up for stuff.” Works for us!

To combat ageism, people must first take it seriously as the epidemic it is. The biggest task now is to raise awareness. We’re proud that every time an employee reviews their workplace on our platform, we ask them to evaluate their employer’s “Attitude towards older colleagues” on a five-star scale; it’s a rating sub-category we consider equally important to factors such as “Job security” and “Work-Life Balance.”

Companies have to do better. When they do, you’ll know it from our reviews!