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Age discrimination often a barrier for older workers

Finding a job can be difficult, even under the best of circumstances. Often, many people compete for a single position. Finding a job when you are 40 or older, though, can prove to be even more of a challenge; this is especially true when employers have a bias against you because of your age.

In many cases, employers resist hiring the most qualified or experienced workers and instead choose to hire newer, “greener” young professionals to fill their open positions. Why? Ultimately, it usually comes down to money. The more experience and tenure a worker has, the higher a salary he or she typically demands. Younger, less experienced workers, on the other hand, are often looking to get their feet in the door above all else. Therefore, they are more likely to accept a lower salary than their older career competitors.

Age discrimination: a pervasive problem

According to AARP, age discrimination is such a common problem across American employment settings that two out of every three employees between the ages of 45 and 74 report having experienced age discrimination during their careers. Essentially, age discrimination occurs when someone treats you differently with regard to your age at any point during the hiring or firing process, or at any time during your period of employment.

While age discrimination is not industry-specific, meaning it can happen in just about any work environment, research shows that your chances of experiencing age discrimination at work increase in the technology industry or the entertainment business. Females are also more likely to experience this type of treatment. While 57% of American male workers say they have experienced age discrimination in their work environments, 72% of American female employees say they experienced the same.

Age discrimination is an unfair barrier that often prevents older workers from reaching their professional potential. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it unlawful for companies to treat those 40 and over differently due to their age.

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