An age-old prob­lem: age bias in tal­ent man­age­ment

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Northeast Jobs -

Age bias is alive and well in Aus­tralian work­places, with more than seven in ten em­ploy­ers ad­mit­ting an em­ployee’s age can be a fac­tor in tal­ent man­age­ment de­ci­sions.

These in­clude devel­op­ment pro­grams, pro­mo­tional path­ways and suc­ces­sion plans.

In a sur­vey by re­cruit­ing ex­perts Hays of 1352 em­ploy­ers, who could choose to re­main anony­mous, 12 per cent ad­mit­ted that the age of an em­ployee ‘al­ways’ im­pacts what works for them in tal­ent man­age­ment terms.

Another 59 per cent said age is ‘some­times’ a fac­tor.

Just 29 per cent said an em­ployee’s age has no im­pact on tal­ent man­age­ment de­ci­sions.

“This bias can work against em­ploy­ees of any age,” says Nick Deli­gian­nis, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Hays in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

“A boss could view an em­ployee as too young, too old or too close to par­ent­ing age when mak­ing tal­ent man­age­ment de­ci­sions.

“For in­stance, one man­ager may un­con­sciously ques­tion an older worker’s en­ergy, in­no­va­tion and longterm com­mit­ment, while another may un­con­sciously ques­tion a younger worker’s sta­bil­ity, ca­pa­bil­ity and ma­tu­rity.

“If you want to progress your ca­reer, our ad­vice is to talk about your ca­reer goals and the devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to you with your man­ager.

“If it doesn’t come up in a for­mal re­view, re­quest a meeting so you can com­mu­ni­cate your am­bi­tions.

“If your boss is aware of your ca­reer plan, they’re less likely to make as­sump­tions based on your age or any other ex­tra­ne­ous fac­tor,” he said.

This has pos­i­tives for a man­ager as well.

“By sit­ting down with an in­di­vid­ual em­ployee and talk­ing about their ca­reer goals, am­bi­tions and train­ing and devel­op­ment needs, you re­move your as­sump­tions about a per­son from your tal­ent man­age­ment de­ci­sions.

“It may also help you iden­tify a bias if you weren’t pre­vi­ously aware of it.”

CUTS BOTH WAYS: Age bias in tal­ent man­age­ment can af­fect work­ers at both ends of the age spec­trum – and some­times in be­tween.

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