Age Diversity and Discrimination in the Workplace
In the present workforce of today’s society, diversity represents the range of human differences,including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. Age diversity is defined as the ability of an organization to accept people from various age categories within the organization’s business environment. The ability to manage both the age group of people and merge them in a single working environment is known as age diversity. The focus of age diversity is usually not on those in ‘middle age’ – the norm for the workforce – but rather on those we deem to be ‘too young’ or ‘too old’. (Iversen et al., 2012). For example, in the workplace being too young is often associated with a lack of knowledge and experience, while being too old is associated with being less capable of taking up new skills and more inflexible.(Field et al., 2013). In fact, 17.3% of professionals admit themselves facing age discrimination in the workplace. For the majority for around 49.4% , this was because they were too old, but 45.3% was discriminate by judging for being too young. (Larkin, 2019). In this critical response, I will state out my point by agreeing with the articles by focusing on two points which is salary difference and difference in task distribution.
In previous decades, workforce had age diversity, but now it seems more increasing due to the various factors like matured professionals are ready to work till late 60’s and younger generations have started taking work life right in middle of the college or out university into society. Age diversity caused the salary difference among the workers. The older worker are usually paid by higher salary due their longer time staying in the workplace and their working experiences. Apart from that, the older worker are being paid with bonus or commission when they worked overtime. Nevertheless, the younger worker were being prejudiced that they are newbie to their work so their salary just conform to government lowest salary standard or receive a wage below the national minimum wage. For present younger generation, job might be a career goal, but in case of matured and experienced people, job might be a livelihood. This might caused the younger worker did not work harder compared to older worker. The young worker were discriminated “they don’t know how to work”. Besides that, they also being prejudiced by they do not work according to plans and always made their decision with sudden impulse. Due to their decision with sudden impulse, that might leading to company’s deficit. Moreover, younger worker also being discriminated for being making their decision too hasty and do not think about the cooperate profits or income. The younger workers also being criticized that they unable completed one task by themselves and unable to perform themselves at highest rates.On the others hands, not only the younger worker faced discrimination but also the older worker, the older worker also being judged by they are too old and cannot handling their jobs professionally. They were criticized that they should retired and handing over their jobs to the younger generation. They are being discriminated by their mindset is old-fashioned and cannot followed up the trends nowadays. They might be being discriminated they do not understand technology or social media. Despite their evident tech skills, workers in all age groups tended to believe that older workers were slower to adopt new technology, with 59% of 18-34 year old reporting feeling this way. ( DeNisco Rayome, 2016). Due to they were prejudiced that they cannot adapted using new system, it will affect their performance in doing their jobs and carrying out their jobs by lowest rate.
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Next, the ageism will leads difference in task distribution between workers. The younger worker and the older worker has great difference in responsible. The younger worker will having many task distribution compared to the older worker. The older worker can get off work easily and work regularly everyday but the younger worker needed to work overtime in order to finish their task which is given by their boss. Besides that, the younger worker not only needed to doing their tasks meanwhile they also needed to fetch and carry the others things in the office. For instance, the younger worker were ordered to help to make copies of the meeting materials before the meeting and brew coffee before meeting begin.
In addition, the younger worker also required to errand for the older and experienced worker to take away their lunch or coffee. Furthermore, the younger employees will be in the slightly lower position compared to older employees. Why can I be so sure about that issues? It is because normally younger employees required to make appointment before meeting their boss. Hence, the opinion contribute by younger employees will be not received easily by their boss compared to older employees. Even through younger employees suggested a good idea or point, it will still being denied by their boss just because of their narrow view and lack of experience in the workplace. Broadly, the evidence supports one of two stereotypical images for older workers: the positive one, depicting the older worker as reliable, loyal, punctual, highly experienced and possessing a good work ethic; and the negative one, depicting the older worker as being resistant to change, inflexible, unable to learn new skills and, in the view of younger workers, often in the way of their own progression up the career ladder. (Iversen et al., 2009).
In the nutshells, the age discrimination in the workplace not only occur in the older workers apart from that younger worker also facing the age discrimination in the workplace. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Hence, there do not have any laws that protect the younger workers from facing the age discrimination. The younger worker can handling their own tasks professionally and older worker can adopt new system well compared than to younger workers. Nonetheless, there is still discrimination about younger worker being “ too young” and older workers being “ too old”. When facing employment discrimination in the workplace, it is important to understand the legal parameters providing rights and restricting your opportunities for legal recourse. Besides that, it is anticipated that there have a lawsuit that can protect the younger worker from age discrimination.
Larkin, N. (2019). Age diversity: How to engage different age groups in your workplace. Retrieved from
DeNisco Rayome, A. (2016). Myth busted: Older worker are just as tech-savvy as younger ones, says new survey. Retrieved from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/myth-busted-older-workers-ar e-just-as-tech-savvy-as-younger-ones-says-new-survey/
Doyle,A.(2019). Age discrimination issues in the workplace. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/age-discrimination-issues-in-th e-workplace-2058453
Iversen, T., Larsen, L. & Solem, P. (2009). A conceptual analysis of ageism. Nordic Psychology 2009; 61(3): 4–22.
Field, J., Burke, RJ. & Cooper, C.(2013). Age stereotypes in the workplace: Multidimensionality, cross?cultural applications, and directions for future research. The SAGE Handbook of Aging, Work and Society. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2013: 250–265.