“Too young for the position”: how to fight ageism at work

SITUATION. You look for a job and find a vacancy that fully matches your competencies and experience. But you are 21 years old and the candidates must be over 25. You get rejected. You are 45; you have changed a profession, now you want to develop as a web designer and are looking for a new job. However, they are looking for someone younger who “can learn faster.” In business negotiations, where you look the youngest, you are rarely given the floor, interrupted and joked about your age. All these are manifestations of ageism at work. We tell you how to resist this.

Ageism is the restriction of any human rights based on age. Indicating the desired age of candidates in the job description or denying a person a job because of their age is not just ageism, but also a violation of the law. It is written in our labor legislation that age cannot be a ground for refusing employment.

Such a request also indicates that the employer believes that competencies and age are related, although this is not the case.

If you see a vacancy where it is written that a person under 35 is looking for a job, I would translate it like this, “We pay little, load a lot, no development, we need someone unpretentious.”

We do not recommend applying for such a vacancy, because along with ageism there will most likely be sexism and outdated ideas about who such a competent person is.

If you choose an employer or business partner and see that you are prejudiced because of age, it is better not to work with such a person at all. But if this cannot be avoided for any reason, one must learn to resist discrimination.


Rely on professionalism.

Your professionalism should be more important than your age, gender, skin color, hairstyle or sexual orientation. Ask yourself why, even though you are so old and some people perceive you as too young or old, you consider yourself a professional. Write for yourself the answer of 15-20 points. These are the internal reasons you rely on. The answers should be reviewed from time to time, and new ones may be added. If you are confident that age is not an obstacle and you are a true professional, you will not play the role of an inexperienced or incompetent worker that employers or business people will try to drive you into partners.

Develop 5-7 options for responding to discrimination.

When you notice that colleagues or management allow themselves a contemptuous tone of the conversation, express themselves as if you are not a professional, but just a “girl” or “boy” – you can, for example, show polite surprise and say that you thought that the company is not filed. We should look for ways to return the conversation to the business plane, “I suggest discussing my age later, and now let’s get to the heart of the matter.” If it does not move to the business plane, you can refuse to continue the conversation in this tone.

Try to use this to your advantage.

For example, a woman who looks quite young holds a leadership position in a company in the conventionally male sphere. Sometimes she comes to meet new partners – usually, it’s men who communicate with her as if she is not equal to them, just a young girl who can smile. She calmly listens to them, asks questions, and then turns on competencies. They have already relaxed, ceased to be involved in the discussion, and therefore were not ready for it to start convincing arguments and work with their objections. In the end, she gains the upper hand in the negotiations.

So you see that ageism and sexism still exist in our society and our task is to stand our ground and put it gradually in the frames of law.

Залишити відповідь

Ваша e-mail адреса не оприлюднюватиметься. Обов’язкові поля позначені *

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: seo service | Thanks to seo company, web designers and internet marketing company