How to Deal with Age Discrimination in the Workplace

According to AARP, 64% of workers have witnessed or experienced age discrimination. For instance, learning opportunities may be offered to younger workers rather than older ones. Or, older workers may be given a significant share of tedious assignments rather than challenging ones. Even though a substantial amount of research proves that common stereotypes about older workers are wrong, new ways of thinking still aren’t sinking in. As a result, it’s important to watch for signs of age discrimination in the workplace and know how to deal with the issue.

Be Aware of Stereotypes

Know which stereotypes center around older workers to avoid doing things that reinforce them. For instance, older workers tend to be seen as unfamiliar with current technology, afraid of change and innovation, or lacking energy and passion. To combat these beliefs, older workers need to embrace technology to improve job performance and show they’re willing to take on new challenges and find solutions to problems. Older workers also need to demonstrate excitement for their work and adding to skill sets as well as continue learning and growing to enhance job performance.

Act as a Coach

Older workers can help younger coworkers move forward in their careers through coaching. Older workers’ wealth of experience means they know how to be inclusive, negotiate, influence people, and sell an idea. Working in teams most likely helped them develop a results-focused mindset. Older workers’ experience is best shared with younger workers by asking them to identify problems they’re facing and helping guide them to a solution. Empowering younger workers to solve their problems will increase their respect for older workers and place additional value on their skills and abilities.

Be Strategic

Older workers should take a strategic approach to secure a job, raise, or promotion. For instance, they should focus on career experiences that demonstrate flexibility, adaptability, and success in collaborating and leading teams. Older workers also can showcase examples of how they’re agile learners, able to adapt to change and contribute to results or use technology to attain the desired outcome.

Speak Up

If a coworker makes age an issue, speak up about it. This is especially important for older workers if they’re in the running for a promotion and sensing that their age may be a problem. Focus the conversation on how the person’s experience is an asset, not a liability. They still have plenty of time to continue achieving career goals and providing value to the municipality.


Find a New Municipal Job

Regardless of your age, when it’s time to find a new municipal job, ask MuniTemps to be part of your search. We focus on your skills, experience, and contributions that make you best suited for a position, then set up interviews for roles that fit your career goals and interests.

We look forward to getting to know you!


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