As the labor shortage continues to make hiring extremely challenging for businesses big and small, many companies have been reaching out to retirees to help ease the burden. The Great Resignation has increasingly shed light on the value that older, experienced workers bring to the labor market.
However, there’s no denying that age bias is something older workers must contend with when applying for new jobs. We surveyed 800 hiring managers in the U.S. to get a read on the amount of ageism present in the hiring process and found that it actually affects young applicants as well as experienced.
- 38% of hiring managers have caught themselves reviewing a resume with age bias
- Close to half know of colleagues who are biased against applicants of a certain age
- 41% say including a graduation year on your resume makes age bias more likely
38% of Hiring Managers Admit to Reviewing Resumes with Age Bias
Of the 800 hiring managers we surveyed, close to four in ten admitted that they have caught themselves reviewing an applicant’s resume with bias against their age. In addition, 45% of hiring managers say they know of colleagues who are biased against applicants of a certain age. Less than half (44%) say that age does not affect their hiring decisions when it comes to senior vs entry-level positions.
“Yes, there is age bias in hiring,” said Lori Rassas, author, attorney, and HR consultant. “The good news is that we are making some progress in this regard, but the bad news is that it continues to be a lose-lose situation as older candidates are being denied opportunities and employers are missing out on a pool of dedicated and talented candidates.”
More Than 4 out of 5 Hiring Managers Have Concerns With Both Employees Aged 60+ and Under 25
When it comes to hiring both older and younger workers, the majority of survey respondents say they have concerns. For applicants aged 60 and up, hiring managers say their main concerns are that the employee may retire not long after starting and that they may not be proficient in the technology needed to do the job.
“As much as age bias is still alive and well, this current marketplace is allowing older applicants to display that they are technically capable and adaptable as well as able to function well in a remote environment, as the interview process by Zoom meetings exemplifies their abilities, for example,” said career consultant Stacie Haller.
“Knowing what the bias may be, with preparing properly for the interview process and having collateral that removes the possibility of ageism bias, older and younger applicants can express during the interview process how they individually do not fit the stereotype of their cohorts and how and why they are the perfect candidate for the position,” she continued.
When considering hiring applicants who are younger than 25, hiring managers have different concerns. The main issues our survey respondents are worried about with younger employees are that they’re likely to leave the job within a short period of time and that they lack the necessary experience to do the job well.
Hiring Managers Recommend Leaving Out Photo and Graduation Year on Resume, But Keeping All Job Experience
We asked hiring managers what applicants can do to avoid falling prey to age-based bias, and they had a few suggestions. 41% said that including a photo with your resume makes age bias more likely to occur, and an equal percentage also said that including a graduation year could do the same. In fact, nearly one in four respondents say that they would never recommend including graduation year on a resume. However, the largest group of respondents (26%) say that an applicant should always include all relevant work experience, even if it spans 25+ years.
“The good news is there are many ways to diminish the bias of ageism including the way your resume and LinkedIn profile are written and knowing how to overcome these unspoken objections,” added Stacie Haller. “I agree that dates for education should not be included, especially on older applicants’ resumes, but feel strongly that experience over 20 years ago is also not applicable and not why the applicant would be considered for hire today.”
“Many times, as in IT, for example, the workplace over 20 years ago does not resemble today’s world. There are ways to include this info without specific dates if it adds to their experience and value as a candidate. Other tips like not using an AOL email address, taking off the words ‘cell’ and ‘email’ are a few examples of other ways to eliminate ageism on a resume,” she finished.
Although the labor shortage has shown the value of hiring older employees, applicants aged 60+ still have to contend with age-based bias in the hiring process. This issue doesn’t just apply to older applicants either, as survey results show that an equal number of hiring managers have concerns about applicants under age 25.
“Remember, everything you do in the job-search process—from selecting which opportunities to pursue, to drafting your cover letter and resume, to what you wear and how you behave in an interview—is geared toward eliminating any preconceived notions a prospective employer has about your age,” Lori Rassas added. “Is that unfair? Perhaps, but look at it this way: The more you do to dispel these preconceived notions, the more level the playing field becomes—and the less your age becomes a factor.”
This survey was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish between February 1 and February 2, 2022. In total, 800 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through screening questions to ensure they handle some or most of the hiring at their workplace. All respondents identified their job role as either a supervisor, business administrator, or HR manager.