Monday, July 23, 2012
Older Job Applicants Shunned[i]
“Ottawa - Nearly three-quarters of Canadians believe workplaces are shunning older job applicants based solely on their age, a worrisome finding given labour force trends in Canada.
In a survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid exclusively for Postmedia News, 74 percent of those asked either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that employers discriminate against older people looking for jobs. The perception is higher among Canadians over the age of 35, but even a majority of those aged 18 to 34 think older workers are subject to ageist attitudes.
Fully one third of pole respondents said they themselves have been victim of age discrimination, either in the workplace or being interviewed for a job. But here the most aggrieved group was younger workers. Forty-one percent of people between the ages 18 and 34 said they have been victims of prejudice because of their tender years, while just 38 percent of the over 55 group felt that way.
The apparent contradiction could have several explanations said Sean Simpson, vice-president of Ipsos Reid.
For one thing, younger people participate in more interviews as they enter the workforce and therefore are more likely to have been turned down for a job, perhaps perceiving that there age played a role.
As well Simpson suggested that older workers are more likely to be doing the hiring. Generally the groups tend to favour hiring those in their own age bracket.
Respondents to the poll also were asked, in a hypothetical scenario, who they would be most likely to hire: someone 18 to 24; 25 to 34; 35 to 44; 45 to 54; 55 to 64; or 65 and older. The question stated that the hypothetical applicants were without any specific experience in the job but all had the same level of general qualifications.
Respondents were most likely to pick someone between the ages of 25 and 34 (37 percent) and between 35 and 44 (25 percent). People in their late and early 50s were the next most preferred (19 percent)
Only nine percent said they would hire someone aged 18 to 24 or aged 55 to 64. And only three percent sad they would hire someone over the age of 34.
The overall trend favouring youth over age worries some experts, because the most recent population data suggests Canada faces a major labour force shortage in the years ahead. One solution to this is hiring, and retraining older workers – but his means potential employers may have shed their antipathy toward hiring seniors.
Pollsters asked a second variant of the “hiring” question, this time specifying that as a hypothetical worker in question got older, he or she also had experience. Even so, there was little difference in poll responses from the first answer. People still preferred relatively younger workers, this time favouring the age groups 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 (31 percent preferred each of these two groups.)
‘ It looks like some experience is great, but it really doesn’t matter if you’ had ten years or 30 years experience – once you’ve got a good amount, you don’t need tonnes of it’ to be among the favoured group for hiring’ said Simpson.
The online poll was conducted between July 10th and 13th and surveyed 1,005 people. The data was weighted against census information to ensure a balanced picture of demographics. An unweighted poll of this size has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20”