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AgeismI’ve blogged about ageism in the workplace and hiring process before, but a recent New York Times article put a spotlight on some new statistics:

  • In 2016, almost 20 percent of Americans 65 and older are working.
  • Over a million and a half Americans over 50 are unable to find work.
  • Age discrimination in employment is illegal, but two-thirds of older job seekers report encountering it
  • A 2016 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found “robust” evidence that age discrimination in the workplace starts earlier for women and never relents. The pay gap kicks in early, at age 32, when women start getting passed over for promotion.

So let’s start at the beginning – why are 20% of Americans 65 and over still working? For many it’s a passion – they LOVE working. But for others, it’s a necessity. As the article calls out, traditional pensions are in demise, meaning many people in their 60s and 70s must keep earning to maintain a sufficient standard of living.

So why can’t they find work? The article puts it this way: “The underlying reason isn’t personal, it’s structural. It’s the result of a network of attitudes and institutional practices that we can no longer ignore. The problem is ageism — discrimination on the basis of age.”

In other words, there is thought that ageism is – and I use this word cautiously – a systemic problem.

I hope you will read the whole article for much more insight into this topic, as well as deeper thoughts on actions we can take to move forward.