How Old Are You?

Today I’d like to take a look at an issue that isn’t as pressing as it once was but definitely still exists within the workplace. That issue is prejudice in the employee selection process.

We, as human beings, tend to be judgemental. As managers, however, we do not have that right. Sadly, many employers choose the individuals they are going to hire based on their genders, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and, in many cases, ages.

Age is a critical question. In many places employees aren’t even allowed to ask an application about his or her age. They are only allowed to verify that the individual in question is of legal working age. Sadly, many employees look at individuals who appear or admit to being over the age of 55 and hesitate over hiring them.

Today I ask you to sit back and think about the pros and cons associated with hiring someone over the age of 55. For example – those under the age of 55 may not have the same demanding health insurance needs whereas someone over the age of 55 is more likely to be a long-term employee brining vasts amount of knowledge and experience.

Can you make a list of additional pros and cons? Is it ethical to judge a person based on his or her age? If you had two candidates of similar education and experience would you use age as a deciding factor? What is the average age of your workforce right now?

I’m interested in your views and would love to know more about your thought process. Do you descriminate against individuals based on their ages (young or old) and, if so, do you even realize you’re doing it?

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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