Commit to workplace diversity, including age

posted on July 13, 2020

By AARP, Smartbrief

As organizations focus on making their workforces more diverse, it is important to pay attention to the intersection of race, sexual orientation, gender and age. That’s because discrimination tends to occur more at these points of intersectionality.

Research conducted by AARP found that age discrimination occurs at different rates across subpopulations. While 64% of women say they have experienced or witnessed age discrimination at work, only 59% of men say they’ve experienced it. Among job seekers, rates are higher for the unemployed (74%) than for the employed (61%). And 77% percent of African American/Black respondents, 61% of Hispanic/Latino respondents and 71% of LGBTQ respondents said they have been discriminated against in hiring because of their age.

Yet, research shows inclusive organizations are more innovative, creative and profitable. For example, older workers bring soft skills, industry knowledge, access to larger networks, background knowledge and life experience to their work. They also have a deep well of wisdom and know-how that can transfer to the rest of your team. Read more about the value of older workers.

Longevity trends and workforce demographics indicate that the labor pool now and moving forward will continue to be age-diverse. As a whole, the workforce – like the population – is aging. In 2032 adults 65+ will outnumber children 18 and under. And in 2021 the first Millennials will turn 40, the age at which they fall under the protection of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. That is a big group beginning to age into a protected class.

How to build a more diverse workforce

It sounds good on paper – but how can organizations ensure that they are building diverse workforces now and into the future? Get started with these action items:

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