By 2024, workers age 55 and older will represent 25% of the nation’s workforce, with the fastest annual growth rates among those aged 65-and-older. This evolving workforce presents business owners and C-suite leadership with unprecedented challenges, an array of new risks and some unique opportunities.
The 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study surveyed 400 U.S. full-time employees over the age of 40 to gain on-the-ground insights into the experience of age discrimination in the workplace. Ageism creates a range of hazards for employers, including discrimination lawsuits, demotivated employees and the lost opportunity costs associated with devaluing older workers.
Key insights from the survey include:
Workplace Age Discrimination is Pervasive…and Growing
The number of age-related discrimination charges filed with employers and the EEOC by workers aged 65+ doubled from 1990 to 20172. There were 18,376 cases in 2017.
Age Discrimination is Vastly Under-reported
Although older workers are protected against age discrimination in the workplace by federal and state laws, only 40% of respondents who experienced age discrimination filed a charge or complaint with the relevant government agencies or their employers.
Gender Plays a Role in Workplace Ageism
In addition to the gender bias women face in the business world, older women may face an additional variant of bias—ageism. That said, the survey found that more men than women feel that their advancing age has adversely impacted their careers.
The Cost of Workplace Ageism
Older workers typically endure the longest period of unemployment compared to other age groups and will likely take a significant pay cut if they become re-employed.
Read the full study for more information