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Workplace Ageism: 4 In 10 Hiring Managers Admit To Age Bias


  • ResumeBuilder published a survey of 800 hiring managers across the U.S. to get an understanding of the amount of ageism present in the hiring process. 
  • According to the survey, nearly 4 in 10 admit to reviewing applicants’ resumes with age bias.  
  • In a Q&A with Gia Ganesh, Vice President of People and Culture at Florence Healthcare (a clinical trial software company), she explained just how to avoid age bias.  

Age discrimination can come in many forms – especially during the hiring process.  

Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of their age, which usually applies to younger people with less experience, or older people who are close to retiring age.  

ResumeBuilder published a survey of 800 hiring managers across the U.S. to get an understanding of the amount of ageism present in the hiring process, and found that it actually affects young applicants as well as those who are older and experienced. 

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According to the survey, nearly 4 in 10 admit to reviewing applicants’ resumes with age bias.  

Despite the immense difficulties facing companies during the labor shortage, more than 80% of hiring managers also say they have concerns about taking on both employees 60+ and under 25, and less than half say age doesn’t factor into their hiring decisions. 

45% of hiring managers say they know of colleagues who are biased against applicants of a certain age, and less than half (44%) say that age does not affect their hiring decisions when it comes to senior vs entry-level positions. 

When it comes to hiring both older and younger workers, the majority of the survey respondents say they had concerns. For applicants aged 60 and up, hiring managers said their main concerns are that the employee may retire not long after starting, and that they may not be proficient in the technology needed to do the job. 

When considering hiring applicants who are younger than 25, hiring managers have different concerns. The main issues the survey respondents are worried about with younger employees are that they’re likely to leave the job within a short period of time and that they lack the necessary experience to do the job well. 

“Age bias, like all bias, can be avoided with training. If you create a scorecard that’s grounded by your company’s values and clearly outlines the traits and characteristics that drive success, you’ll increase the odds that your team will conduct an objective, fair interview process,” Amy Zimmerman, Chief People Officer at Relay Payments, told Allwork.Space.  

Zimmerman says to not just stop at creating the score card, but to also train all team members involved in the interview process to ensure they know how to evaluate for values alignment and success criteria.  

“This is truly the holy grail for building a high performance culture — it starts with hiring and the very best team members come in all different shapes and sizes, with different experiences, ages, genders, races, etc,” Zimmerman told Allwork.Space.  

According to the survey, hiring managers (41%) said that the best thing applicants can do to avoid falling prey to age-based bias is to not include a photo with their resume, which makes age bias more likely to occur.  

An equal percentage also said that including a graduation year could do the same. In fact, nearly one in four respondents said that they would never recommend including graduation year on a resume. The largest group of respondents (26%) said that an applicant should always include all relevant work experience, even if it spans 25+ years. 

“Remember, everything you do in the job-search process—from selecting which opportunities to pursue, to drafting your cover letter and resume, to what you wear and how you behave in an interview—is geared toward eliminating any preconceived notions a prospective employer has about your age,” according to Lori Rassas, author, attorney, and HR consultant. “The more you do to dispel these preconceived notions, the more level the playing field becomes—and the less your age becomes a factor.” 

In a Q&A with Gia Ganesh, Vice President of People and Culture at Florence Healthcare (a clinical trial software company), she explained just how to avoid age bias.  

Allwork.Space: How does your organization avoid age bias during the hiring process? 

Gia Ganesh: We focus on the skills that the role requires. In our practices, we are careful to avoid screening out candidates that seem to have more experience than a position requires. We also never ask for birthdates or graduation dates.  

Additionally, we train interviewers to be cognizant of various biases and put together an interview guide on topics that we encourage them to discuss as well as questions they should avoid during an interview.  

Allwork.Space: What should other companies do differently to avoid bias during this process? 

One way to avoid bias is to embrace change as a company. Make the avoidance of bias a priority in DE&I efforts and bring in more candidates who are diverse in age.  

When opportunities are posted, job descriptions need to be inclusive in their language. Avoid terms such as “new grads” and “high energy” which imply younger candidates. In marketing materials, showcase the different age groups that are employed at the company, thereby encouraging diverse employees to apply. 

When interviewing candidates, it is vital to provide training for interviewers and recruiters on the different types of biases we are all subject to as humans to build awareness and avoid it in the process.  

Another element to ensure that the hiring process is balanced is appointing a diverse interview panel. It would also be wise to invest in bias removal screening software to be used in the recruiting process. 

ALLWORK.SPACE KYR SURVEY 2022





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