New report uncovers consequences of ageism

Ageism has consequences far beyond the workplace. For 78% of older people who say they have been victims of ageism, their...

Ageism has consequences far beyond the workplace. For 78% of older people who say they have been victims of ageism, their experience continues to scar their lives.

In a report from MaturityWorks, an astonishing 71% admitted that ageism affected their mental wellbeing, and almost one in three believed it had affected their marriage. Moreover, the report reveals that ageism now affects people as young as 35.

MaturityWorks, the web recruitment service for older people, interviewed 150 people in April to investigate the social impact of workplace ageism. Of the victims of ageism, 65% were not confident of getting another job, 83% believed they had been denied employment on grounds of age and 71% admitted to being anxious about the future.

Older workers see themselves as targets for redundancy and feel frustrated and resentful that their valuable skills are going to waste.

The objective of the research was to give a voice to the victims of ageism. The average age of respondents was 53 (ages ranged from 34 to 67), 56% were male and 44% were female. Key findings of the report were:
  • Frustration was felt by 83% because they had been rejected owing to ageism, while 71% were anxious about the future

  • Continued resentment against the organisation that rejected them was felt by 38%

  • For 53% there was a belief their age had made them a target for redundancy

  • The impact of discrimination had stayed with 78%, while only 4% said it had no impact

  • Workplace ageism under the age of 40 was experienced by 13%, while 61% experienced it before the age of 50

  • In some instances, ageism affected workers under the age of 35

  • When asked about re-employment, 65% were not confident of securing another job

  • Experience was the most valuable skill to contribute to a workplace according to 90%, while reliability (55%), ideas and creativity (48%) and enthusiasm (38%) were also considered valuable

  • Ageism made an impact on the mental wellbeing of 71%, while 31% said it affected their marriage, 62% their social life and 91% their wealth.

Toni Townsend, one of the founders of MaturityWorks, said, "Workplace ageism is now accepted as a major problem. However, the repercussions on society have been ignored as the victims are rarely given a voice.

"Ageism is creating a society where the golden years are becoming years of frustration, depression, anxiety and resentment. A community of mature workers is being created who are scarred by an experience that stays with them forever. It seems extraordinary that such a large pool of available talent is going to waste."

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