HR glossary / A / Ageism



Ageism is prejudice or discrimination based on age. It can affect both younger and older individuals. Ageism is prevalent in many cultures and societies, and its manifestations can be seen in various areas of life, from advertisements and media to the job market.

In the workplace, ageism can manifest as not hiring older workers because of their age, despite their experience, or overlooking younger employees for promotions under the assumption that they are too young and inexperienced. In extreme cases, this can lead to workplace bullying or other forms of age-based discrimination.

It’s important to note that ageism, like any form of discrimination, is harmful not only to the individuals affected by it but also to society as a whole. It limits diversity in the workplace and results in the underutilization of the full potential of people from different age groups.


How is ageism different from regular prejudice?

Ageism is a specific form of prejudice that focuses on a person’s age rather than other characteristics.

Common signs of ageism include jokes or comments about age, assumptions about an employee’s ability or desire to learn new skills based on their age, lack of opportunities for training or advancement given to older or younger employees, and a significant age disparity in teams or leadership positions without a clear professional justification.

Organizations can prevent ageism by providing training on diversity and inclusion, which should include age as a key area of focus. Policies should be audited regularly to ensure they do not inadvertently disadvantage any age group. Additionally, promoting intergenerational collaboration and mentorship programs can help to break down age-related barriers and stereotypes.


Intergenerational mentorship programs

Facilitate mentorship programs that pair younger and older employees to foster mutual learning and appreciation of diverse age-related perspectives.

Regular policy reviews

Conduct regular reviews of company policies and practices to identify and eliminate any age bias in hiring, promotions, layoffs, and retirement policies.

Awareness and training sessions

Implement training sessions focused on age diversity to educate employees about the value of all age groups and the negative impacts of ageism.

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HR glossary / A / Ageism

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