Age discrimination affects over one-fifth of U.S. workers over the age of 40, a particular number of which are men, according to a new Hiscox survey. With that in mind, the international specialist insurer warns that companies should be mindful to the liabilities that this can cause.
“Age discrimination in the workplace is an increasingly serious issue for businesses and employees as older generations continue to maintain their professional careers longer than their predecessors,” Patrick Mitchell, Management Liability Product Head at Hiscox USA, said in prepared remarks. “Discrimination of any kind brings serious reputational and financial risks to any business and can negatively impact a worker’s career trajectory.”
Hiscox found that 21 percent of U.S. workers age 40 and older have experienced workplace discrimination due to their age. They also added that age 51 is the point at which they’re most likely to experience, according to the 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study.
Interestingly, men were found in particular to feel that getting older hurt their careers. Approximately, 43 percent of men felt that their age has been a barrier to finding a new job since turning 40 years old, the Hiscox study found. That compares to 30 percent of women who felt the same. Just under 40 percent of men reported that age frustrated their career advancement since turning 40, compared to 24 percent of women.
Other findings from the study:
- While one-in-five respondents said they faced age discrimination in the workplace themselves, only 40 percent filed a charge or complaint. Fear of a report creating a hostile work environment (54 percent) and a lack of knowledge on how to initiate a complaint (24 percent) were among the reasons cited.
- About 51 percent of workers who witnessed age discrimination against another employee did not report it, and 62 percent said they didn’t speak up because they feared employer retaliation.
- 80 percent of respondents who experienced age discrimination reported that it had impacted their career trajectory.
- About 43 percent of respondents reported that they had left a company due to experiencing or witnessing age discrimination.
- About 67 percent of respondents 65 or younger plan to continue working after they turn 66, and 62 percent of all workers did not receive any form of age discrimination training in the previous 12 months.
Hiscox said that age discrimination can be prevented by initiatives including workforce training, watching for sketchy behavior and by responding to claims “immediately and thoroughly.”
Hiscox pursued the study by surveying 400 full-time U.S. workers age 40 and over.