Experience, insight, loyalty of older workers appreciated by many: Poll

But three-quarters feel group discriminated against
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 07/26/2012

When it comes to the veteran workforce, almost all (93 per cent) Canadians agree older workers bring important experience and insight to the workforce, according to a survey by Ipsos Reid. Those aged 35 and up are more likely (95 per cent) than those who are younger (86 per cent).

However, three-quarters (74 per cent) feel workplaces discriminate against older workers who are looking for jobs, according to the survey of 1,005 Canadians from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel.

More than three-quarters (78 per cent) agreed older workers are more loyal and reliable than younger workers, with older Canadians (90 per cent) the most likely to agree, followed by middle-aged (83 per cent) and younger Canadians (58 per cent).

And 82 per cent disagreed that older workers are less productive, “coasting their way to retirement,” while 76 per cent disagreed that older workers are a burden to employers because they generally cost more and receive more vacation time and benefits.

More than one-half (60 per cent) also disagreed that older workers get less respect from their younger counterparts and 74 per cent disagreed that younger workers have most of the best ideas.

However, divisions emerge in one area: One-half (51 per cent) of the respondents agreed that older workers are harder to train on new processes or technologies while 49 per cent disagreed. Broken down, 71 per cent of younger workers agreed compared to 43 per cent of middle-aged workers and 43 per cent of older workers, found the survey.

Discrimination an issue

When it comes to discrimination, those aged 55 and older (78 per cent) and between the ages of 35 to 54 (80 per cent) are considerably more likely than Canadians aged 18 to 34 (59 per cent) to think there is bias against older workers.

But younger workers are more likely to believe young people are discriminated against more than older workers. While 51 per cent of respondents to the Ipsos survey agreed that when it comes to hiring, workplaces discriminate against younger workers who are looking for jobs, there is a generational divide on this matter.

Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) Canadians aged 18 to 34 believe this type of discrimination exists, while 42 per cent of middle-aged Canadians and 44 per cent of older Canadians said the same, found Ipsos.

One-third of respondents said they’ve been the victim of age discrimination at work or in a job interview, but those aged 18 to 34 (41 per cent) are more likely than those aged 35 to 54 (31 per cent) or 55 and older (28 per cent) to believe they’ve been victimized in this manner.

Hiring scenarios

When presented with the scenario of being an employer and having to choose from various candidates of different ages — all with no previous experience in the job they’re hiring for and all with equal qualifications — 62 per cent of Canadians leaned younger in their choice, choosing a worker who was either between the ages of 25 to 34 (37 per cent) or 35 to 44 (25 per cent). Significantly fewer would choose a candidate aged 45 to 54 (19 per cent), 55 to 64 (eight per cent) or 65 and older (three per cent), found the survey.

On the other hand, few (nine per cent) would choose the youngest worker between the ages of 18 to 24. When presented with the same scenario except the candidates had different levels of experience, there was a general movement away from the youngest workers, but it wasn’t pronounced, said Ipsos.

How would you hire?

Age and experience of applicant

No mention

of experience

Mention of experience

18 to 24 (no experience)

9%

8%

25 to 34 (5-10 years’ experience)

37%

31%

35 to 44 (15-20 years’ experience)

25%

31%

45 to 54 (25 to 34 years’ experience)

19%

20%

55 to 64 (35 to 40 years’ experience)

9%

7%

55+ (40 or more years’ experience)

3%

3%

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