Are Older Workers “Opportunity Blockers?”
This recently-published study shows that many advocates for diversity and inclusion in the workplace have cognitive dissonance when it comes to age discrimination. The same progressively-minded folks who support more opportunities for women, people of color, LGBTQ employees and those with a disability often feel conflicted when it comes to keeping older people in the workplace longer.
The results, the researchers write, reveal "a uniquely challenging prejudice." Ageism turned out to be a difficult prejudice to neutralize because even fervent anti-prejudice advocates found ways to legitimize the bias. In some cases, there’s a sense that older workers have had their chance and it’s time for them to let others escalate in the organization. In other cases, people’s fear of their own aging biases them against older workers. In other words, “I hope I’m not like that when I’m his age.”