The situation

The researchers at at the Yale School of Public Health have found evidence that ageism harms the health of older people in 45 countries and across 5 continents. The study on health consequences of ageism, or age-based bias, included over 7 million participants.

Ageism is typically not mentioned in the workplace, yet it impacts many in the labour market.Half the world’s population is ageist against older people and, in Europe, the only region for which data is available on all age groups, younger people report more age discrimination than other age groups.

Ageism is associated with earlier death (by 7.5 years), poorer physical and mental health, and slower recovery from disability in older age. Ageism also increases risky health behaviors, such as eating an unhealthy diet, drinking excessively or smoking, and reduces our quality of life. In the United States, one in every seven dollars spent on health care every year for the eight most expensive conditions was due to ageism (US$ 63 billion in total). Ref: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/ageing-ageism

Everyone should live in our society with respect and decency.Elderly people are equal members of the community and should not be subject to spiritual concepts, attitudes or conduct. But in actual, negative perceptions about older people and old age are prevailing in current society.

UK

According to the recent studies, UK’s perception towards ageism is totally negative. One in five people in UK has reported for experiencing age discrimination. In UK, ageism grows more prominent during COVID-19 pandemic. In England and Wales, age discrimination has increased by 30% over the previous year.

Key Statistics

  • 36% of people over the age of fifty felt disadvantaged in work.
  • 27% of people over the age of 65 have been victims of ageism.
  • 43% of old age people believe that Government is not able to fulfill the demographic needs.
  • In the United Kingdom, ageism is the most form of discrimination approximately at 39%.
  • During COVID- 19 pandemic, age discrimination increased by 74%.

Australia

The most significant impediment to multiple opportunities in Australia is age discrimination.Australian companies do not address the stereotypes faced by the older people. In Australia, employers of the companies are not willing to invest in older workers as they think that these people will retire soon. They prefer the people to hire whose age falls in between 30 -40 as they will stick to the company for longer period i.e., 10-15 years rather than the age group of 50- 60 years old whose employment period will be less. Due to Age discrimination at workplaces, people of such old age groups are forced to leave the jobs and went into early retirement.

Key Statistics

  • 27% of old people have experienced age discrimination at work.
  • 4 in 10 companies avoided employing those who are over 55 years age.
  • There were 2.9 million Australians aged 45 to 64 living in Australia in March 2020, with 180,500 of them unemployed (6.22 per cent).
  • After becoming unemployed, four out of five (79%) adults aged 55 and up found it difficult to find work.

Europe

European Union has a legal law since 2000 against the age discrimination at the workplaces. In Europe, age discrimination is one of the most common forms of discrimination as per 2019 Eurobarometer in the EU. Discrimination in healthcare access is a major source of concern for those aged 55 and up, and it has been highlighted in the context of COVID-19.

Key Statistics

  • 40% of European citizens say that age discrimination is pervasive in their country.
  • In a 2019 poll, 47 % of respondents believed that age was a factor in favoring one candidate over another who was equally competent.
  • Only 58 % of people aged 55 to 65 are employed, compared to 67 % of the general population.
  • In European countries, 48 % of all working males and 60 % of all women aged 65 and more are employed part-time as compared to 18.3 % of working 18–64-yearold people.

Africa

Africa may be the world's youngest continent, but its elder population is rising at a rapid pace. In Africa, older people are seldom given a fair shot when it comes to finding work. In many African countries, such as Nigeria, it is uncommon for someone to enter the public sector at the age of 45 or older as a new entrant.Older people are often the poorest members of society in most African countries, living well below the poverty line.They frequently don't have a steady source of income and aren't covered by social security.They are the poorest people in the world.

Key Statistics

  • Poverty rates in households with older individuals are 29% greater than in other households.
  • 90% of elderly people who are abandoned go into depression.
  • Between 2017 and 2050, the continent's population of people aged 60 and more is expected to grow by more than thrice, from 69 million to 225 million.

GEA Viewpoint

  • Older workers are highly skilled, experienced and show high level of professionalism fostering a strong work ethic.
  • Senior workers have critical thinking skills which is very helpful in making decisions.
  • Older workers have had more time to develop their emotional intelligence and maturity, and they can bring this resilience to the workplace.The emotionally intelligent workers can lead to increased productivity, better teamwork, and better conflict resolution.
  • Experienced senior workers can use their decades of knowledge and expertise to bridge skill shortages in the workplace, find process improvements, and mentor younger or less experienced staff.
  • Most mature workers are aware of their own talents and flaws.As a result, punctuality is high, absenteeism is low, and worker turnover is minimal.Business owners that seek to establish loyalty in their teams profit from the steadiness of senior, aged staff.

Actions for Governments

  • Should provide financial incentives to the employersand cultivate partnerships with relevant stakeholders to facilitate the change to encourage age-diversity at workplaces.
  • Should arrange awareness campaigns to disperse the myth of older employees, enhance their image, emphasize their positive contributions to the workforce market and promote the benefits of age diversity and inclusion.
  • Should nurture the diversity and inclusion programme to promote the age diversity.
  • Should work to minimise the adverse effect of age discrimination by changing the behavior of employers.
  • Governments should ensure enforcement of Ageism laws and policies.
  • Governments should provide training, conciliation, advice and services to the employers to help in resolving the age discrimination issues at workplaces.
  • There is need to foster a multigenerational culture that recognizes ability regardless of age and rejects age stereotypes, just as it would reject stereotypes involving race, disability, national origin, religion or sex.
  • Older people should be empowered by telling them their rights and how these can protect them against abuse.

Recommendation for Organisations

  • Examine the rules and processes to see whether there are any areas where age prejudice exists, such as sick leave, annual leave, and flexible working.
  • Examine across the organisation, from directors to managers to workers, for any signs of age-related harassment, bullying, or victimisation.
  • Employers should regularly review their policies, procedures, and guidelines to see if there are any issues of age bias amongst employees.
  • Mentoring-friendly companies are generally welcoming and inclusive places to work.Workers of all ages should be paired together.Workers of all ages can pass on their knowledge and skills to others, both upwards and downwards, and help them improve.

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