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Worrying results of a new survey on the 50+ woman and the workplace

over 50 woman at work

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

It would a appear we still have a long way to go to combat ageism in the workplace, especially when we consider the raising of the retirement age !

New research has  found that it’s not just today’s mature female TV presenters who are facing age discrimination; it seems inequality is rife for fifty-plus women in all professions, as four in five women over 50 claim to have been overlooked in job interviews and for promotions because of their age.

Mature Women believe they are passed over by employers because of their age

A whopping 77 per cent of mature women believe that they have been passed over by employers because of their age, and more than half (52 per cent) state it is unlikely that they will progress any further in their career.  Only a meagre 35 per cent felt they currently had a successful job.

Respondents were asked to rank the worst-offending industries and fashion and beauty top the bill, followed by the automotive; TV and media; and tourism and leisure sectors. 

Almost a third (31 per cent) claim to have been treated with impatience and a lack of understanding by both colleagues and society in general, and a further 15 per cent had experienced disdain and a complete lack of respect because of their age and the preconceptions that go with it.

And, these women are not alone in their view of this discrimination.  In stark contrast to employers’ poor treatment of 50-plus females, the survey revealed that younger generations respect and look up to their seniors, with 76 per cent agreeing that older women have more confidence and are more independent (75 per cent) than younger women. 

However, the younger generation overwhelmingly agree with the statements that mature women were less likely to progress in their career (53 per cent) and very likely to be overlooked in job interviews (76 per cent).

The isme.com Invisible Women Study was carried out online by Opinion Matters in January 2011 amongst a panel resulting in 1246 UK women, of which 47% were over the age of 50.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Izzy

    March 17, 2011

    These survey results don’t surprise me. Age is definitely an issue in the workplace and I am not sure it is confined to women. I believe that gender is still an issue for younger women seeking to progress to senior roles but it’s a topic that is very divisive when it is raised so much so it may even be taboo in some walks of life.

  2. BigLittleWolf

    November 28, 2011

    One of the challenges of job seekers is the CV which reflects depth and breadth of experience. Even when you condense, approximate age is easy to guess, and assumptions are made that eliminate you from consideration automatically.

    Among the (erroneous) assumptions – ability to fit in with a younger crowd, will be a threat to the boss, will make the manager uncomfortable because you may be older than s/he is (and more experienced), you will be less energetic or willing to work long hours than someone younger (we often work smarter), you are a more costly employee (health care premiums for employers).

    That last may be true, and is just one more problem in the US health care nightmare.

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