New Delhi: A new study on ageism at workplace has found that about 31 per cent of employees in India experienced a bias or discrimination at work because of their age.

The study by talent management company Randstad India found that pharma, healthcare & life sciences as well as business process outsourcing/IT-enabled services were the two sectors where the highest proportions of respondents (43 per cent) experienced ageism.

These sectors were followed closely by construction, infrastructure and real estate where 41 per cent of respondents said they experienced ageism, according to the study titled ‘Beyond Numbers: Intergenerational Insights on Ageism’.

The study, which covered almost 1,000 respondents, revealed that 40 per cent of the surveyed workforce have either experienced or witnessed ageism at work (did not face ageism themselves but saw it happening to others). Although people have experienced the phenomenon, most of them lacked an awareness of the term ‘ageism’ itself in its truest sense.

“Ageism is one of the most overlooked unconscious biases made at the workplace across levels,” said Viswanath PS, MD & CEO, Randstad India.

“Overcoming ageism requires a conscious effort to recognise and challenge stereotypes to create an environment where experience and fresh perspectives are equally valued. By fostering an inclusive culture that embraces employees of all ages, organisations can harness the full potential of their workforce, driving collaboration, innovation and growth,” he added.

“It is essential that we recognise the unique contributions that individuals of all age groups bring to the table and work actively to integrate their experiences into the fabric of our companies.”

The study revealed that 42 per cent of employees aged below 55 years experienced or witnessed ageism at the workplace, compared to 29 per cent of employees aged above 55 years. Fewer respondents aged under 35 years (51 per cent) agreed their contribution was valued because of their age, compared to respondents aged above 35 years (63 per cent).

About 27 per cent of all respondents felt they were not fairly compensated due to their age.

The data suggested that younger age groups faced more age discrimination than older age groups. There was a general lack of trust in the youngest age group’s abilities and skills while the oldest age group experienced the privilege of age-based and seniority-based respect. About 42 per cent of women reported experiencing or witnessing ageism, compared to 37 per cent of men, a reflection of how ageism at work intersects with other dimensions of diversity.

Employees from Indian MNCs (Indian companies with global presence) reported higher instances of ageism, with 41 per cent affirming they faced age-related biases. On the other hand, of respondents from MNCs headquartered outside of India, 29 per cent agreed there was age-related bias in their workplace.

The impact of ageism extends to workplace inclusion, with 80 per cent of all respondents feeling they can be their authentic selves at work, but younger employees (under 35) report a lower sense of inclusion (73 per cent) compared to their older counterparts (87 per cent).

  • Published On Jun 3, 2024 at 04:06 PM IST

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