Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Report reveals bias against older workers

Press Release
Human Rights Commission

Embargoed for publication Monday October 30

Report reveals bias against short listing older workers

Employers may be at substantial legal risk from age discrimination when short-listing applicants for jobs, warns EEO Commissioner, Dr Judy McGregor.

New research commissioned for the Human Rights Commission shows that 25 year olds are six to 12 times more likely to be short listed than 55 year olds for human resource positions and six to 10 times more likely to be short listed for sales positions. Recruiters also compound age discrimination effects in short listing in these areas.

“The results show that either consciously or unconsciously age is being used to screen out otherwise suitable applicants which is incredibly short-sighted in terms of the labour market skills shortage, the available talents of mature workers and the value of their experience”, she said.

She was commenting on research undertaken by Professor Marie Wilson of the University of Auckland Business School and graduate student Jordan Kan that looked at barriers for entry into employment for older job applicants in three sectors-sales, human resources administration and nursing.

Part of the research used similar written applications for 75 advertised positions. The only difference in the applications was the age of the candidate and three age bands were used: 25plus, 40plus and 55plus. All of the “pretend” applications were European/Pakeha men with "ordinary" first and surnames. The candidates were equivalent in their recent, relevant experience and education. If a broader or lengthier working experience was relevant, then older workers would be preferred.

However the study showed that older candidates - both those aged 40 plus and 55 plus years - were rated far behind their younger counterparts in sales and human resource administration. Older women also suffer slightly more disadvantage, according to the study. In nursing, while employers may harbour preferences for younger applicants, the acute labour shortage meant that the age factor was moderated by scarcity and older nurses as well as younger nurses received positive responses to job applications.

In discussions with potential employers during the research the key factor that differentiated older and younger employees was the assumed flexibility and adaptability of younger workers. The youngest applicants were described as “trainable”, easy to “get up to speed” and “go-getters”. Applicants aged 40 were described as “settled” and older applicants were described as “set in their ways”.

One employer responded to three similar applicants differentiated by age only in the following way- he invited the youngest applicant in for a chat about whether he wanted to train for the post, the middle aged candidate was told his “experience was not relevant” and the 55 year old candidate was told his “qualifications didn’t meet the requirements of the company” despite no qualifications being specified.

Professor Wilson said the research showed that “rationales for discriminatory selection are stereotypical, incorrect and very openly expressed, demonstrating limited awareness of ageism in employment, even amongst recruitment and selection professionals.”

Jobs with high, medium and low skill shortages were chosen for study including nursing, sales and human resource administration. A variety of methods such as a field experiment, simulation and interviews were used to assess employer preferences (were the applicants seen as suitable), employment outcomes (were applicants short-listed) and employer rationales (why were some candidates preferred over others).

Professor Wilson said the research showed that younger workers were seen as more suitable and were significantly more likely to be short-listed. She said the research served as a reminder that employment discrimination may be a continuing problem at a time when no employer can afford to over look talent. “Not hiring on the basis of age is not just bad business, it is clearly illegal” she said.


+ Barriers to entry for the older worker, new research commissioned by the Human Rights Commission and conducted by Professor Marie Wilson and Jordan Kan of the University of Auckland Business School. For a copy see www.hrc.co.nz (News and Issues)

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news