Age Discrimination: "Age shall weary them…" Older C-Suite/executive? Discriminated against? You are not alone.

Published: 24 May 2016 By James Dunne

I came across a really interesting piece of research from TCMO, a leadership/career coaching company, and although it’s a few months old I was sufficiently impressed (and, as someone who comes into the ‘no spring chicken’ category, sufficiently concerned) to write this blog piece to draw it to your attention.

The research was originally conducted to examine “the thorny question of executive-level discrimination as it affects recruitment, promotion and general, everyday work in the senior management world.” There were no specific expectations, but having spoken to the person who conducted it, I understand that his belief was that gender would be the big issue for most respondents.

The results were intriguing.  For every area that was investigated, AGE was the most common type of discrimination.  Gender was next, then race and, a bit behind, disability and sexuality. Interestingly, nationality rather than race was mentioned by some as an issue. Do people confuse these?

The area where discrimination was greatest was job interviews.  Staggeringly, only one third of the respondents believe they have NOT been discriminated against in one way or another at interview.

When it comes to promotion – something that’s very close to every ambitious executive’s heart – over half felt they had been discriminated against.

In more general terms, a scary (near) 60% think that there is discrimination at exec-level in their business.  However, to redress the balance a bit, I was relieved to read that the overall feeling was that “most discrimination is not commonplace: it happens ‘sometimes’ rather than frequently.”  That doesn’t make the discrimination that does happen right – and while it’s unlikely we’ll ever totally eliminate people’s belief that they have been discriminated against (recruitment being the ultimate form of discrimination in that only one person can get the job), it’s important for all the C-suite/director/executive level that we do what we can to stop this. 

I have one final thought… Given that it’s C-suite/director/executive level individuals who run businesses, who is it that is doing the discrimination? Answers on a postcard anybody?

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