Sector News

Workforce equity: Employers stuck in ‘time warp’ about older workers

November 11, 2023
Diversity & Inclusion

As people live longer and choose to remain in the workforce longer, society needs to reevaluate its stereotypes about older workers, Elizabeth White, an author and aging solutions advocate, said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Center for Workforce Inclusion’s annual Equity Summit.

“We’re stuck in a time warp about what it means to be an older adult. The expectation is that people stop working at 65, and that’s just not the case,” White said. “There’s a big challenge to change our framework and our perception of what it means to be an older adult.”

Stereotypes about older workers not wanting to work or being too frail to work don’t hold up, White said. Rather, these are experienced workers with institutional knowledge, she said.

The disconnect can be attributed to “blind spots” but also to ageism, Janine Vanderburg, CEO of Encore Roadmap, which provides tools to capitalize on the strengths of older workers, said during the panel on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It is a blind spot when people overlook the real attributes that older workers can bring to a workforce, to a business,” Vanderburg said. But when employers believe myths and stereotypes about older workers not wanting to work or being digitally incompetent, it can become ageism, she said.

“Ageism actually exists, and it’s more than a blind spot. It shows up as prejudice. It shows up in stereotyping, and it results in people actually being pushed out,” Vanderburg said.

Vanderburg highlighted a recent settlement in which a tutoring provider settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $365,000 over allegations it programmed its tutor application software to reject women 55 or older and men 60 and older. READ MORE

by Ginger Christ


comments closed

Related News

February 17, 2024

Busting myths about women in the workplace

Diversity & Inclusion

On this episode of The McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey senior partners Alexis Krivkovich and Lareina Yee talk with global editorial director Lucia Rahilly about the 2023 Women in the Workplace report—and specifically, the newest research on where progress is happening, where it’s not, and what leaders need to do differently to accelerate the pace of change.

February 10, 2024

The new Executive Presence: has a difficult decade changed the definition?

Diversity & Inclusion

Everyone agrees that leaders can’t reach the top without executive presence — but pinning down a definition is much more daunting. In fact, the fuzzy nature of the phrase is exactly why it’s often used as a fig leaf to keep women and other marginalized people out of plum roles.

February 4, 2024

6 research-backed inclusive language do’s and don’ts

Diversity & Inclusion

Inclusive language is a way of communicating that avoids expressions and words that may be considered discriminatory or exclusive. It aims to embrace diversity and promote a sense of belonging for all individuals, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ability or any other characteristic.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach