According to an online article by Fox News, ageism is “the last of the -isms (racism, sexism) to get any attention, especially in the workplace. But ageism is rampant. Once workers hit 50 or 55, they start to worry about how their age is perceived and whether they will be passed over for a job or promotion. And for good reason.”
In a survey of more than 4,000 retail workers (ranging in age from 18 to 94) in three regions of the U.S., researchers found that “one-third of workers believe that older employees are less likely to be promoted, one-third do not believe it’s a problem, and one-third were unable to say.”
The researchers then wanted to see how this bias effected the motivation of employees. “We wondered: Does the perception of age bias in the workplace have an impact on employees’ motivation or sense of engagement in their jobs?” said James.
They found that employees of all ages who perceived an age bias were less engaged in their work than those who did not perceive such discrimination. Not surprisingly, the perception of age bias was more strongly related to lower engagement among older workers than younger workers. Perceptions of age bias seem to make employees less likely to go that extra mile, even those who believe such bias is warranted.