Ageism isn’t just about senior citizens, or people over 65. It’s about middle aged highly talented people, as I wrote in my November 28th article titled “Ageism Not Your Problem? It Can Hit YOU Like a Semi-Truck!” https://bit.ly/2GkrhcA
Much of society is still thinking about Ageism in the wrong way, society doesn’t expect city folks with desirable skills to be in jeopardy; during my research, I heard people tell me they think it’s the over age 65, the mid-west, the rust belt, or the coal mining states. Wrong! Ageism is hammering fear into well-educated talent in major cities that are just getting to age 50. In fact, 90% of people, that right – 9 out of 10 people worry about their job security and their marketability in Silicon Valley and other major cities.
This particular article in Entrepreneur magazine discussed recent findings which my research has also found to be true, but the article doesn’t hit the root cause of the problem. The article states that “recent studies and a proliferation of age-bias lawsuits demonstrates that the pursuit of youthful exuberance and thinkers uninhibited by what their senior counterparts would tout as “perspective” has dominated hiring and retention decision-making in Silicon Valley for years, propelling it like an aircraft carrier through a vast sea of tech talent, leaving fear, job dissatisfaction and countless older workers in its wake.”
But what makes these younger personnel makes these age discrimination decisions? I’ll tell you what the root cause is at the end of this blog post.
So you see, Ageism is happening in the most demanding cities where they are saying they can’t find talent. Even though under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) workers over age 40 are a protected class. That doesn’t stop Ageism from continuing to grow into a larger and larger problem. Companies are willing to risk serious consequences and even hurt themselves in the process by letting talent go that they know have depth and breadth of their company’s projects and processes and are proven asset, as well as having been groomed by these companies. I wrote an article called “Insane is Trending: Breaking the Law for Economic Disadvantage” https://bit.ly/2UaA3Ta that pretty much sums up what companies are willing to do to perform Age Discrimination.
Companies that have been in the spotlight about their willingness to break U.S. federal and state laws in the name of hiring ever-younger-and-cheaper talent are many, including IBM, Google and Hewlett-Packard – and these are but a few of the big names that have been practicing a culture of age discrimination. All the while paying insanely higher compensation for a few folks at the top, sometimes for even for losing money!
The article cites that “since 2008, over 250 age discrimination charges were filed with California” and that “hundreds more never made their way into the public eye or court dockets by virtue of severance packages and hush-money paid to thwart lawsuits.”
What can be more cancerous to a nation than signaling to its society that when people, starting at age 40, could be discriminated against for simply gaining experience and knowledge – for working hard in their country and the government won’t be there because benefits are being pushed ever-higher? Silicon Valley and other cities are sending a message that you have a shelf life in this country today, and no matter how much you educate yourself and no matter how hard your work you won’t make it to retirement age by moving up the ladder as we all expect to do, rather, chance are excellent you’ll be moving backward in your career and struggle to make ends meet. Yet these same cities have hundreds of companies that complain they can’t find talent. It’s flat out lies and excuses to discriminate.
So, is there any wonder that employee engagement statistics at the end of last year polled an all-time low? My first article above, as did the one I am citing here, noted the damning statistic: 66% of employee’s age 40-45 worry about their age will hurt their career. So if you’re 38 or 39 years old, you’ll start sweating bullets. This is the American Dream?
Indeed, my last two jobs walked my career backward, and were contract-to-hire since I struggled to find a decent full time job at age 43. I got them both from friends who asked me to take the first 10 years off my resume as well as my MBA and two graduate certificates so I wouldn’t show any leadership or high aptitude – so I could get those contract opportunities and both company’s promises of being converted and moving up the chain never happened, they just kept me underemployed. So I have first-hand experience that it’s true, on top of spending 20 years placing thousands of people, a large percentage that didn’t get a salary increase during two recessions/post recessions and were suppressed by dozens of my corporate clients.
All the while companies and their CEO’s tout equality, “employee first” mottos and websites that say “our employees are our number one asset.” I wrote a whole chapter on CEO compensation, one of the only groups not living in fear is the C-suite and they have an average age in the late 50’s. If you find that interesting, you’ll find the chapter eye-opening.
So now, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, what is my answer to why those youthful recruiters who do all the interviewing perform so much discrimination? Leadership. Oddly enough, many of them are probably in their 40’s and 50’s. It starts from the top.
An important solution would be something most companies don’t do and that is Age Discrimination bias related training. But who would have to go through it is the key. We are in a sad state in this country on many fronts but the fact that people need to be trained not to discriminate tells you where our modern society is.
“Singh is the Author of the new book YOUR FUTURE IN PIECES – HOW AGEISM AND INCOME INEQUALITY ARE DESTROYING AMERICA. The book has been ranked on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Seller List in the Human Resources/Business categories: #06 Ageism in the Workplace; #07 Federal Education and Legislation; #10 in Business Health & Stress and #10 in Labor & Employment Law.”
Find the Book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1733331204/
The “Age and Wage” Advocacy website: http://www.risingmiddleclass.com/
SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT
The article cited: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/321755