Age Discrimination in the U.S. Financial Sector?

justiceWhat are the chances that a recent survey by an Australian recruiting firm that found widespread age discrimination in the financial sector there could be replicated here?

The firm, Marks Sattin, reports it surveyed 476 hiring managers in the accounting, banking and finance, insurance, and wealth management industries in Australia and found that three-quarters of those aged over 50 felt they had encountered age discrimination. Older workers were perceived as “resistant to change” (67 per cent), and “slow to learn” (37 per cent). Sattin reports that age discrimination was twice as prevalent as gender discrimination,.

Leuan William, director of Marks Sattins, called age discrimination the “white elephant in the room.” She said there were discussions around gender discrimination but age discrimination flew under the radar. “The result is a substantial number of mature candidates who are unable to get jobs, despite immense qualifications and experience. Australia needs to eradicate the stereotypes and adopt a pro-mature workforce culture,” Williams said.

Age discrimination is estimated to cost the Australian economy over $48 billion a year.

Research shows that age discrimination in hiring is epidemic in the United States but widely ignored. Even the on-ongoing White House Conference on Aging has refused calls to address the problem, deciding instead to focus on “healthy aging.”  The Conference is held once every ten years to address important issues around aging. One reason the Conference may have chosen to ignore age discrimination is that President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2010 that allows federal agencies to discriminate against older workers and hire “recent graduates.”

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