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Ageism can strike at any time - what does your company culture reveal about attitudes to ageing
This week (starting 11th of April 2016), BBC Radio 5 is running a series of special programmes examining ageism within the UK. As part of that week, the BBC commissioned a survey to examine the extent to which ageism was encountered in a range of situations.
On average, 31% of respondents who experienced ageism revealed that they had experienced ageism in the workplace, with 15% experiencing ageism when applying for jobs. Whilst the gut feeling would be that ageism is skewed towards the older end of the spectrum, only 7% of those aged over 65 and 33% of those aged 55 to 64 reported experiencing ageism in the workplace whereas 43% of those aged 18 to 34 and 48% of those aged 35 to 44 were on the receiving end of ageist behaviour.
The statistics are a stark warning that ageism can strike at any time. The first time that you think that someone is too old or too young for a particular role, the first time you question the amount of experience which someone has built up, the first time you comment that an individual wouldn’t be aware of a cultural or historical experience due to their age is the first time that you are demonstrating an ageist attitude.
We now live in a time of multigenerational workforces with the employee base stretching from 16 to 66 and beyond. You may not intend to discriminate but what these statistics show is that ageism is a multigenerational problem.