People who do the hiring admit it: ‘Yes, there is age bias’

Jan 11th, 2023 | By | Category: Spotlight

In a national survey of hiring managers, four out of every 10 admitted to age bias when reviewing resumes of older job applicants.

The survey of 800 hiring managers across the U.S. also revealed age bias on both ends of the chronological spectrum: 80 percent of the managers said they have concerns about taking on employees who are 60-plus and under 25. This is despite a labor shortage that prompted many employers to reach out to retirees to expand the pool of possible workers, an admission of the value of older, experienced workers, according to Resume Builder, an online source of career of job-hunting advice that conducted the survey in February.

“Yes, there is age bias in hiring,” said Lori Rassas, an attorney and human resources consultant. “The good news is that we’re making some progress in this regard, but the bad news is that it continues to be a lose-lose situation, as older candidates are being denied opportunities and employers are missing out on dedicated and talented candidates.”

For applicants aged 60 and up, survey respondents said their main concerns are that the employee may retire not long after starting and may not be proficient in the technology needed to do the job.

“As much as age bias is still alive and well, this current marketplace is allowing older applicants to display that they are technically capable and adaptable and able to function well in a remote environment,” said Stacie Haller, a career consultant for Resume Builder.

When considering applicants who are younger than 25, hiring managers have different concerns—mostly that young workers are likely to leave the job within a short period of time and lack the necessary experience.

Heller said older and younger applicants “can express during the interview process how they individually don’t fit the stereotype of their cohorts and how and why they are the perfect candidate for the position.”

Resume Builder asked hiring managers what applicants can do to avoid falling prey to age-based bias. The managers advised not to include a photo with resumes, as that can make age bias more likely. But they also said applicants should always include all relevant work experience, even if it spans 25 years or more.

Heller said experience from past decades isn’t necessarily applicable, especially in professions such as IT, (“The workplace over 20 years ago doesn’t resemble today’s world”). But she said “there are ways to include this info without specific dates if it adds to their experience and value as a candidate. Other tips, like not using an AOL e-mail address and taking off the words ‘cell’ and ‘e-mail,’” are examples of ways to eliminate potential ageism on a resume.

The moral of Resume Builder’s survey results is that the job-search process must be “geared toward eliminating any preconceived notions a prospective employer has about your age,” Rassas said. “Is that unfair? Perhaps, but look at it this way: The more you do to dispel these preconceived notions, the more level the playing field becomes—and the less your age becomes a factor.”

The survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish last February

When it comes to getting hired, workers 60 and older face age bias. So do some of their younger co-workers. (Photo illustration/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

. Respondents were either a supervisor, business administrator, or HR manager.

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