Fears of ageism still a factor in workplaces

A significant number of employees don’t tell anyone when they reach 50 for fear they will be regarded as old, according to a new study.

age bias, ageism at a workplace


Nine per cent of over 50s say they did not admit to turning 50 at work for fear colleagues would regard them as old, according to a survey by AIG Life Limited.

AIG Life’s study of more than 3,000 working adults found more than two out of five (44%) over 50s believe their age will count against them for promotions and pay rises.

The under 40s also have concerns – around 40% of them believe older colleagues block their career progression and pay rises while more than half (55%) worry that their own careers will stall once they celebrate (or otherwise) their own 50th birthday.

However, more than two out of three (67%) of businesses surveyed said they are adapting to the impact of an ageing workforce and nearly one in five (17%) have expanded employee benefits to cater for older workers. Senior managers, however, say their biggest worry is increased sickness and pension contributions, but issues such as training and employee benefit costs are not seen as major concerns.

Lee Lovett, Managing Director for Group Protection at AIG Life, said: “It is rather sad that so many over 50s worry about their age and its implications for the workplace because the reality is that employment among the over 50s is at a record high. Our earlier research found some people want to work into their 70s
and can bring a huge amount of knowledge and experience.

“Society needs to see every generation of worker as an integral asset yet there’s clearly still some level of ageism across employees of all ages as the shy over 50s are not alone in their feelings. Younger workers are also worried about older colleagues blocking their careers while also worrying about what effect turning
50 will have on their careers in turn.

“It would be interesting to understand where this employee ageism is derived because businesses accept that workforces are ageing and need to be supported – they are adapting and recognising that there are benefits to an older workforce.”


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