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Age prejudice rife in Australia

About one fifth of our resume clients are over 50 and suffer age prejudice. In fact, the same type of prejudice, but in a slightly different form hits young people. This story is from AAP.

Older Australians feel they are being increasingly discriminated against but less able to do anything about it.

Forty-five per cent of people over 50 have experienced ageism in the past year, according to research commissioned by national campaign EveryAGE Counts.

However, fewer than one in five (82 per cent) took action in response.

Of them, 27 per cent said it was because it was hard to prove, 24 per cent said they didn’t know how to respond and 22 per cent weren’t sure if it was really ageism they’d encountered.

“The only way we can end it is to bring it out of the shadows,” EveryAGE Counts campaign director Marlene Krasovitsky said.

“Often older Australians feel powerless when they encounter ageism. However, if we know what it looks like and name it, we can take constructive actions in response.”

Yet some approaches work better than others.

“It’s tempting to argue that ‘one day you’ll be in my shoes’ but … research shows people find it hard to conceptualise their future selves,” she said.

“It may actually be more persuasive to simply explain the impact the ageism had on you personally.”

In the workplace, people may suspect they’re missing out on opportunities to learn new tech or skills because of ageism but it can be difficult to prove.

Setting up an affinity group of older colleagues can be an effective way to compare experiences and identify patterns.

EveryAGE Counts co-chair and former Federal Minister Robert Tickner says he’s encouraged by the growing awareness around ageism and its impacts.

“The proportion of the Australian population over 65 has doubled from eight per cent to 15 per cent over the past 50 years,” he said.

“We can’t keep discriminating against a fifth of our population. We need to update our attitudes, structures, and practices.”

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