Research: Age Discrimination Among Workers Age 50-Plus

Age discrimination is not a new phenomenon. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on this serious problem that affects workers age 50-plus. The third survey in the Work & Jobs Data Series explores where age discrimination exists for adults age 50-plus in the labor force. 

Age discrimination creates obstacles to getting hired.

The demand for skilled workers is providing the workforce with leverage to seek jobs with the flexibility and growth opportunities they desire. But for some workers age 50-plus, looking for a job or going through the interview process may be hindering their ability to land a job. Nearly one in six adults currently working or looking for work (15%)  report that they were not hired for a job they applied for within the past two years because of their age. Among recent job seekers, 53% were asked by an employer to provide their birth date during the application or interview process, and 47% were asked to provide a graduation date.

Age discrimination exists in the workplace.

Research shows that about two in three adults age 50-plus in the labor force  (62%) think older workers face discrimination in the workplace today based on age. And among them, nearly all (93%) believe that age discrimination against older workers is common in the workplace today. Roughly one third (32%) of older adults in the labor force report that in the last two years they heard negative comments in the workplace about an older co-worker's age. One in six (17%) say that they have been the recipient of negative comments about their age at work. Just over one in ten have been passed up for a promotion or chance to get ahead because of their age (13%). 

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