Finding gainful employment can be tough at any stage of life, but finding a good job once you reach a certain age can prove even more difficult. In fact, many older Americans believe their age plays a major role in their inability to find work, suggesting that age discrimination is a very real threat to older job seekers.
According to AARP, age discrimination has become such a prevalent problem across the United States that jobseekers 35 and over now cite their age as the single biggest obstacle preventing them from finding employment. While many people believe that their age stands in their way of getting a job, age discrimination can actually occur at just about anytime within the hiring, employment or firing processes.
Age discrimination: a serious hurdle for job seekers
Age discrimination has become so common across the nation that two out of every three American workers between 45 and 74 say they have fallen victim to it at some point during their careers. This holds true despite the fact that there are certain protections in place that prevent most employers from discriminating against workers due to age.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 dictates that any employer with more than 20 employees may not discriminate against employees who are 40 or older because of their age, but regrettably, the problem persists in many work environments.
Statistics surrounding age discrimination in the United States
While the majority of American workers attest that age discrimination is alive and well in America and that they want to see the government take additional steps to prevent it, there is some disagreement about who is most susceptible to it. Most American employees believe that they are most likely to experience age discrimination in their 50s, while 22% believe it can begin once a worker hits his or her 30s or 40s.
Statistics also indicate that women are more likely to see age discrimination as a barrier than men, with more than 70% of women between 45 and 74 saying they believe it is an issue at work, compared to 57% of men.
Age discrimination is illegal, and you do not have to simply accept it. If you are experiencing unfair treatment at work due to your age, you have the right to speak up.