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Age-based discrimination found to be common in company hiring

Companies may claim to be “equal opportunity employers” and promise to give equal consideration to any applicant regardless of race, religion, sex, or age. But new research shows that discrimination, particularly age-based, is still very common in the hiring process.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University conducted a study where applications were sent to real jobs in the UK to 811 potential employers, but the applications were from fake candidates.

Each application boasted the same educational experience, job qualifications, and hobbies but the gender, age, and ethnicities were different.

The application from a 28-year old white man received twice as many interviews compared to the application from a 50-year-old white woman and three times as much interest from employers compared to the application of 50-year old black woman.

The researchers received discriminatory responses from the employers, and there was evidence for prejudice and bias against age, ethnicity, and gender.

Not only are middle-aged job seekers up to three times less likely to get an interview compared to a younger applicant, but the researchers also found that younger people are also more likely to be offered higher salaries despite having less experience.

For example, of the applicants who were offered a job, the young white male applicants were offered an average salary 13 percent higher than the salary offered to a 50-year man.

The researchers found 50-year-old black men were paid $3,318 less than younger white male applicants and this discrepancy was even greater for 50-year-old black women.

The researchers presented their findings at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference.

“Despite the growing participation of older workers in the labour market, many employers are prejudiced against older workers,” said Dr. Anna Paraskevopoulou, a researcher on the study. “Older applicants might not receive invitations for an interview, or they might receive invitations to interview for lower-paid jobs.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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