Ageism: Rampant and Spreading

There is an interesting – and important — piece by Roger Wright on ageism on the Huffington Post. The article, entitled “Ageism in Action,” touches on several key elements of ageism, including the fact that research clearly details that ageism is perceived to be a bigger barrier to employment than sexism or racism.

The author also touches on elements of ageism, such as the automated rejections (“robojections”) that seniors receive when applying for openings for which they are perfectly – and more than – qualified.

Importantly, the piece also notes that age discrimination is being carried out “amid a societal tidal wave of indifference that lets ageism happen with barely a peep.”

There is a second, equally important, aspect to ageism that also exists.  And that’s the practice of marginalization, in which older, and still highly qualified, employees are frozen out of important strategic and operating elements of a company – thus, making them outsiders looking in.  The goal of this behavior on the part of management is clear: to adversely impact the job performance of the older worker, all with the aim of then being able to give the older employee a subsequent “negative” performance review that will allow the company to effectively push the employee out the door – and strip away the employee’s ability to seek legal recourse.

This practice has been implemented across industries and sectors for years.  And, for the most part, those employees not in management’s bulls-eye have either been complicit and/or remained silent.

And the practice continues to grow.



  1. Yes, this is sadly familiar from personal experience in the D.C. area when the CEO was due to retired and the new man was brought aboard. Going from a generous compensation to prematurely devouring my retirement savings all while traveling the world in the pursuit of being able to contribute as a fifty-something is quite a change. If, however, ageism is at play in the States, there is a different and perhaps equally nefarious phenomena at work in Northern Europe where the experienced professional, once derailed, will find it impossible to reenter the work force. A whole new class of consultants and temporary staff has emerged. They are a shadow work force — even an invisible one — but with a tremendous store of valuable knowledge and experience that to an enormous extent goes to waste.

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