For Women Today; Ageism is Worse and Tech isn't Helping by Vinay Singh

We must reverse systemic bad behaviour. This starts with issues that most people all around the world can agree with. As an expert in the field of multi-generational inequality and employability, I can tell you that ageism has been getting worse and while it does and very little attention is being given to this discrimination, from a gender perspective, women are doing worse.

Right now, Americans and people everywhere are experiencing ageism today for having gained solid experience, the ability to contribute at the leader level and having the experience capable for mentoring. Oh, yeah, and also for being a top performer. WHAT? What employer would discriminate against someone who does all that? Sad a majority of companies do.

I often read articles from organizations like SHRM that support my Ageism platform, by stating things like “Age discrimination in employment is rampant” according to women interviewed by SHRM Online, and you will see many people share discrimination experiences in a social sites like LinkedIn discussions among professional women.

Ellen—who asked that her last name not be used—said that when she was in her late 40s, she lost her job as a hospital department manager after a merger. She found that job hunting was noticeably harder than it had been when she was younger.

“I wrote it off as, ‘Oh, I’m looking for higher-level jobs, and so they’re harder to find” she said.

But then she encountered something that suggested her age might be a factor: Phone calls with hiring managers would go well, but when she filled out the requisite online applications, which invariably asked for a birth date or high school or college graduation date, she never heard back.

“My phone just wasn’t ringing,” said Ellen, who now works part time selling wine at an upscale supermarket, making $10 an hour. “I’ve had 17-plus interviews. No offers. I'm struggling.”

Have you seen this Time Magazine cover? You don’t have to be a teacher; you can be anyone in any industry and the same thing that happens. Great talent is being kicked out of their industry due to Ageism and has to find work at a much lower-level job - everywhere.

Food for Thought: Younger Generations and Older Folks:

  • If you are younger right now, how do you feel that in our modern day it will be so hard for you to get to retirement when you are age discriminated starting in your late 30’s? Fact!
  • If you are in your 40's how does it feel that your society has implemented a massive cultural bias to wreck your ability to get to your golden years – starting when you’ve just got to middle age? If you haven’t experienced it yet, chances are excellent it’s right around for you.
  • If you are getting close to age 50, how does it feel that chances of being discriminated against in any of the major global developed countries is slightly higher than 90%? Thank you for giving your best years to grinding out work, none of that matters how. Soon you’ll only get jobs that pay a fraction of your employability earning wage.
  • If you are in your 60's how does it feel that chances are today, it's almost guaranteed for the majority of Americans and people everywhere, will may not retire ever. Pre-pandemic and at the end of 2019, statistically speaking 1 out of 5, or 20% of Americans were set to work till they pass away. Golden years? As we used to say in my area, New York City: Fag-get-about-it! Now, with the pandemic economic aftermath yet to be calculated, my projections for the year 2030 is about 30%, or 1 out of 3.

Illuminating the Women’s Issue – It’s Going to Be Even Worse

Women are struggling to get through this pandemic even worse. New surveys are finding that women have been struggling with being seen or heard in virtual meetings. Many women are also saying they feel ignored or overlooked. It’s happening but the data won’t show it.

But, that’s not all. Unemployment numbers show women are struggling everywhere as hiring for good jobs is still tough to come by. And, women are struggling more than men – in fact, recent stats prove it - U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for women peaked at 15.8% in April 2020, more than 2 percentage points above that for men.

These are real examples of educated women and the experienced workforce all around the world today. So, let me recap:

Starting at ages as low as late 30’s people are experiencing ageism - yep, you read it right, I'm not talking just senior citizens, I’m talking about young and middle-aged folks!

Women are struggling more than men, both virtually and in obtaining jobs overall. None of this is new, we’ve been here before and in many ways none of this is new.

You catching my drift?

This decade can’t start slow and it can’t repeat last decade…or another one of my hypotheses could come true, an end of global upper and middle class and just the uber wealth and everyone else in a struggling class.

But we can do better and we must. The solutions to reverse systemic inequality are available, the will and fortitude to implement them is what we need. It starts with employee everywhere demanding a shared prosperity and compensation model. It starts with true DEI strategy and models. We can do better, and we must. Let’s do this!

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Singh is a leading consultant in the field of workforce development and talent acquisition strategy and has been a trusted adviser to hundreds of companies. Singh is the author of the Amazon top 10 bestseller on Ageism book; YOUR FUTURE IN PIECES.

He studies Adult Learning & Leadership and Employee Engagement strategy at Columbia University where he is constructing the next big meta trend model to supercharge workforce culture and productivity. Connect with Vinay.