Ageism is the practice of discriminating against someone because of their age. While some companies have made strides toward more transparency, accountability, and inclusivity there is still a lot more that can be done.
It is also not uncommon to hear that many companies post jobs with subtle and not so subtle phrases, reminding older workers that they need not apply. One explanation is that some companies, believe naively, that older workers; lack energy, are uneducated or unintelligent because of their age.
According to an article by Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Hiring in the Age of Ageism while HR professionals and talent recruiters might not intend to exclude older workers, the words used on their jobs postings say otherwise. The tech industry (while not the only one) have been accused of posting job ads designed to exclude older workers.
Below is a list of 7 common phrases (from the SHRM article) used, in some job postings that screams out; older workers, please don’t apply:
- Digital Native: May discourage qualified applicants who didn’t come of age with digital and mobile tech—even some as young as their 30s.
- High-Energy: Often a euphemism for young.
- Ninja/Guru: These trendy buzzwords are likely unfamiliar—or unappealing—to older candidates.
- GPA of 3.5 or higher: Sends the message that you’re looking for employees at a life stage where these assessments remain relevant.
- Overqualified: Since experience often correlates with age, this term can be used to mask age bias.
- Meals included: Implies an expectation that workers don’t have a family waiting for them to come home for dinner.
- Bad cultural fit: Can be problematic if your culture is overtly youth-oriented.
Ageism often begins with the hiring process. Every company has certain criteria when it comes to hiring, and HR and talent recruiters tend to hire people with certain traits. And, while that may not necessarily be a bad thing hiring managers should be aware of the value and benefits of a diverse workforce.
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