Ageism a big problem for older job seekers

A new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid shows that nearly three quarters of Canadians feel that employers are not hiring older job seekers based only on their age.

The survey, conducted for Postmedia News, showed that 74 per cent of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed with the findings.

While this view is higher for those over 35, many 18-34 year old respondents also felt older workers are subject to ageism. And one third said they themselves had been victims of ageist discrimination, either while on the job or during the interview.

While the response was high for older workers, it was even worse for younger workers, where 41 per cent believed they were being discriminated against purely because of their age, compared to 38 per cent of the 55 plus demographic.

The reason for this contradiction could have a couple different explanations.

Since young people entering the workforce participate in more interviews, they are more likely to be turned down for a job, and may perceive their age factoring into the decision. Also, since older workers are usually the ones doing the hiring, that could play a role – since people tend to naturally hire within their own age group.

Respondents were asked who they would be most likely to hire, given that each demographic shared the same general qualifications and didn’t have any specific on the job experience, between the age groups 18 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and 65 plus.

The results? Most selected were those between ages 25 and 34 at 37 per cent, followed by those between 35 and 44 at 25 per cent, and those 45 to 54 came up at 19 per cent. Both 18 to 24 and 55 to 64 came in at just 9 per cent, and 65 plus received only 3 per cent.

The pollsters even asked a revised version of the original question, emphasizing that the older the worker was, the more experience he or she possessed — yet the results still favored younger workers. Both age groups 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 received 31 per cent of the vote.

The poll was conducted between July 10th and 13th, and 1,005 people were surveyed.