A news release from Age Lessons, a Chicago consulting firm specializing in Baby Boomer issues, said its online poll found that 36% of 18- to 34-year-olds reported that their age had been held against them while 24% of those 35 years old or older gave that same response.
In follow-up phone interviews, 93% of respondents said they had “witnessed or experienced” ageism, but were hesitant to report it because they didn’t think they could change things, they feared being considered a problem, or they were afraid of being laid off.
“Ageism isn’t about old people, it’s about all people. To avoid a ‘war of the ages’ in the workplace, companies need to address generational diversity across the age spectrum and develop strategies for leveraging the richness and value-add of a diverse workforce,” noted Laurel Kennedy, Age Lessons president, in the news release.
The announcement said men (30%) were more likely than women (23%) to admit to a personal experience with age discrimination at work.
Additional findings include, according to the news release:
- Younger workers told interviewers that older workers seemed to be “kicked to the curb” at a disproportionately higher rate during layoffs.
- Fewer than 5% of employees selected mentoring opportunities as a possible benefit. Older interviewees felt mentoring was just corporate code for “picking their brains dry” and saw specialized knowledge as an excellent longevity strategy.
- More workers need help caring for new classes of dependents – elderly relatives who are outliving retirement savings and adult children looking for parental subsidies. Some 22% of respondents picked long term care insurance and 20% health coverage for seniors or adult children as appealing benefit options.
The quantitative portion of the study was conducted from February 20-22, 2007 by Harris Interactive, among 1,066 employed U.S. adult ages 18 and over.
More information is at www.agelessons.com .