Evidence of Age Bias Could Mean Trouble for Baby Boomers

A recent study conducted by the University of California at Irvine professor David Neumark suggests that age bias is becoming an issue for baby boomers. Today’s workforce is getting older and baby boomers aren’t planning to retire anytime soon. This is a problem when employers are guilty of age bias. The study sent out 40,000 resumes to real jobs. The resumes for any job were identical except for age. Neumark reported that the “callback rate drops from young applicants to middle-aged applicants and drops even further from middle-aged applicants to older applicants.” He found these results were worse for older women than older men.

Figure 1

Projection of U.S. working-age population by age group

2017-06-1.png

Source U.S Census Bureau (2014)

 

Figure 2

Comparison of Job applicant callback rates by age2017-06-2.png

Source: Authors’ calculations, Neumark et al. (2016)

 

If more and more people are trying to work longer, this bias could increase the unemployment rate tremendously and cause financial instability for many people who aren’t ready to retire. This is obviously a huge problem for baby boomers. Younger generations need to plan to save more for retirement than their grandparents did or face possible age discrimination in the future.

 

http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2017/february/age-discrimination-and-hiring-older-workers/

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/03/24/521266749/too-much-experience-to-be-hired-some-older-americans-face-age-bias

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Evidence of Age Bias Could Mean Trouble for Baby Boomers

  1. jacknedorostek

    Great post Will! This is obviously a pressing issue. I wonder if the changes in jobs with the innovations of modern technology and ideas has caused this shift. The youth has a better understanding of this present and future way of life, where as groups like the Baby Boomers would have to go through intensive training to get to the same level of knowledge, which takes time, energy and money.

    Reply
  2. nbharp18

    Enjoyed your idea here, Dags. My belief here is that employers are averse to hiring older workers for a variety of reasons, such as health reasons and skills. Younger workers are much less likely to be a burden on a company with health problems, and are more productive overall, making them more desirable. I also agree with Jack, in that the skills younger workers are coming into the workforce with are most definitely creating barriers for older workers who may have to be taught those skills.

    Reply
  3. Victor Matheson

    I would think the recruitment and training would be an issue. If it is costly to search for a new employee and train them to become a productive employee, you may think twice about hiring a person who will likely retire in the next 5 years as opposed to hiring one you might be able to retain for 30 or 40 years.

    Reply

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