How Age Discrimination Impacts Indian Employees: A Closer Look

▴ How Age Discrimination Impacts Indian Employees
Creating opportunities for employees of different age groups to work together can help bridge generational gaps and promote mutual respect and understanding.

A recent study on ageism in the workplace has uncovered significant insights into how age-related biases affect employees in India. Conducted by talent management company Randstad India, the study revealed that about 31 percent of employees in the country have experienced bias or discrimination at work due to their age.

Ageism Prevalence in Various Sectors: The sectors most affected by ageism include pharma, healthcare & life sciences, and business process outsourcing/IT-enabled services, where 43 percent of respondents reported experiencing age-related discrimination. This was followed by the construction, infrastructure, and real estate sectors, where 41 percent of employees faced similar issues.

Awareness and Recognition of Ageism: The study, titled ‘Beyond Numbers: Intergenerational Insights on Ageism’, surveyed nearly 1,000 respondents and found that 40 percent of the workforce had either experienced or witnessed ageism. Despite this high prevalence, many employees were unaware of the term ‘ageism’ and its full implications.

Viswanath PS, MD & CEO of Randstad India, commented on the findings, stating, "Ageism is one of the most overlooked unconscious biases made at the workplace across levels. Overcoming ageism requires a conscious effort to recognize and challenge stereotypes to create an environment where experience and fresh perspectives are equally valued."

Differences in Ageism Across Age Groups: The study showed that ageism affects different age groups in distinct ways. For example, 42 percent of employees aged below 55 years experienced or witnessed ageism, compared to 29 percent of those aged above 55 years. Younger employees (under 35 years) were less likely to feel their contributions were valued due to their age (51 percent) compared to those aged above 35 years (63 percent).

Interestingly, the data suggested that younger age groups faced more age discrimination than older groups. Younger employees often felt their abilities and skills were underestimated, while older employees enjoyed a certain level of respect and privilege based on their age and seniority.

Gender and Ageism: The study also highlighted gender differences in the experience of ageism. About 42 percent of women reported experiencing or witnessing ageism, compared to 37 percent of men. This indicates that ageism intersects with other dimensions of diversity, such as gender, to create compounded challenges for some employees.

Organizational Differences: Employees from Indian multinational companies (MNCs) reported higher instances of ageism, with 41 percent affirming they faced age-related biases. In contrast, only 29 percent of respondents from MNCs headquartered outside of India reported similar experiences.

Impact on Workplace Inclusion: The impact of ageism extends to workplace inclusion, affecting employees sense of belonging and authenticity at work. While 80 percent of all respondents felt they could be their authentic selves at work, younger employees (under 35) reported a lower sense of inclusion (73 percent) compared to their older counterparts (87 percent).

The Path Forward: Addressing ageism in the workplace requires a multifaceted approach. Organizations need to foster an inclusive culture that values the contributions of employees across all age groups. This includes implementing policies and practices that promote age diversity and prevent discrimination.

1. Raise Awareness: Organizations should conduct training sessions to educate employees about ageism and its impact. This can help in recognizing and challenging age-related stereotypes and biases.

2. Promote Inclusive Policies: Companies should review their policies to ensure they support age diversity. This includes fair recruitment practices, equal opportunities for training and development, and unbiased performance evaluations.

3. Encourage Intergenerational Collaboration: Creating opportunities for employees of different age groups to work together can help bridge generational gaps and promote mutual respect and understanding.

4. Support Career Development: Providing career development opportunities for employees of all ages ensures that everyone has the chance to grow and advance within the organization. This can include mentorship programs, continuous learning opportunities, and clear career progression paths.

5. Foster a Respectful Work Environment: Encourage a workplace culture where respect and appreciation for diverse perspectives and experiences are paramount. This includes recognizing and valuing the unique contributions of each employee, regardless of age.

6. Monitor and Evaluate Progress: Regularly assess the workplace environment to ensure that ageism is being effectively addressed. This can involve employee surveys, feedback mechanisms, and analyzing diversity metrics to identify areas for improvement.

The study by Randstad India highlights the pervasive issue of ageism in the workplace and highlights the need for organizations to take proactive steps to address this bias. By fostering an inclusive culture that values the contributions of employees across all age groups, companies can drive collaboration, innovation, and growth.

Creating an age-inclusive workplace is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage. It allows organizations to harness the full potential of their workforce, leveraging the diverse skills and experiences of employees to achieve greater success.

Addressing ageism is a journey that requires commitment and effort from all levels of the organization. By taking conscious steps to recognize and challenge age-related biases, companies can create a more equitable and productive work environment for everyone.

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About the Author


Sunny Parayan

Hey there! I'm Sunny, a passionate writer with a strong interest in the healthcare domain! When I'm not typing on my keyboard, I watch shows and listen to music. I hope that through my work, I can make a positive impact on people's lives by helping them live happier and healthier.

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