A discrimination of age – overlooked by many.
It is very common to hear about discrimination in the workplace motivated by race, gender, sexual orientation or marital status to name a few. Very rarely is it heard of the detrimental effects of discrimination when it comes to the aging population in the workforce. Ageism is an equally relevant and extremely overlooked form of workplace discrimination.
Despite the lack of awareness of ageism, it is still one of the most reported forms of discrimination in the workplace today. Ageism is something that is or will affect every single person in the workforce, according to the Human Rights Commission, over 25% of people aged over 50 in the workforce have reported discrimination because of their age.
The current climate conditions of increase in the cost of living are among a few of the reasons some Australian’s might find themselves in the workforce for longer.
You may be thinking…. What can I do to ensure Ageism doesn’t happen in my business?
Positive approaches that can nurture the ages of all in a workplace are:
- Rethinking flexibility:
- Rarely do businesses promote flexibility for mature-age workers. Anyone over 55 can specifically request flexible work arrangements, as in Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
- Positivity surrounding retirement:
- Create a culture in your workplace that encourages and considers future planning for retirement. The earlier you start the easier it is for everyone. Employers should educate employees on all matters relating to financial planning and ‘preparing for retirement’ in awareness sessions from as early as employees in their mid-40s.
- Facilitate inter-generational relationships based on knowledge transfer:
- Employers should use their mature-aged works as mentors by implementing mentor programs and ensuring interaction through team environments. Failing to do so will ensure a loss of knowledge and experience through new employees and failing to strengthen the team. It can also aid to prevent inter-generational conflict and ensure perceptions of older or younger workers is a healthy and mutually respectful.
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