Making Age Diversity A Priority For Your Company

Posted by Grace Newman

The last decade has seen a big increase in diversity and inclusion initiatives related to hiring, yet age discrimination remains a challenge. In fact, 61% of American workers over the age of 45 report seeing or facing age discrimination at work and 38% believe the practice is “very common.” And with 35% of the workforce expected to be over 50 by 2022, adequately addressing age discrimination is becoming increasingly important. So, what can your company do to make age diversity a priority? Asking a few key questions is a great place to start. 

Here are some of the top ones to keep in mind as you work on making your talent acquisition process as inclusive as possible.

Does your recruiting strategy take age into account?

We’ve all heard stories of startups staffed almost entirely with 20-somethings but the reality is that most companies don’t hire with a specific age group in mind. Still, age biases tend to be deeply ingrained and even the most thoughtful HR team can overlook older candidates. In fact, according to a PwC survey, only 8% of CEOs focus on age diversity as part of their company’s talent acquisition plans, making it difficult to ensure that inclusiveness is a priority. 

To be certain that your company hires employees from a wide range of ages, it’s important to prioritize age as part of your diversity goals. This means outlining clear age discrimination policies and figuring out where you might need to adjust your recruiting strategy in order to attract older candidates. 

In addition to these more formal policies, it’s important to consider tactical approaches to removing age bias within the hiring process. One such practice is blind hiring - in which identity cues such as graduation dates, years of work experience, and work gaps are removed from a candidate’s resume prior to evaluation. Blind resumes are particularly effective within the sourcing process to help remove the influence of unconscious bias and develop a more inclusive pipeline of candidates at the top of the funnel.


What are some key factors you may be missing?

While having an age discrimination policy in place may feel like a no-brainer, there are other things you may be overlooking that could cause you to lose out on talented candidates. To figure out what those are, you’ll need to take a holistic look at your overall recruiting strategy, including job descriptions and automated candidate screening processes. 

This means adjusting the language in job descriptions so that it’s more skills-focused rather than experienced focused, and removing any fields related to age or birth year on application tracking systems. While these may seem like small changes, they can go a long way toward attracting diverse talent and helping candidates of all ages feel more comfortable with the application process. 


How can you attract and retain age-diverse talent?

When it comes to building a successful workplace, age diversity can make all the difference. In fact, studies show that company performance is better in age-diverse workplaces and productivity is often higher in teams that include both younger and older employees. 

To attract employees from across the age spectrum, it’s important to focus on building an inclusive culture and to have that reflected in your employer brand. This means treating your team members equally when it comes to their work and ensuring that team members of all ages have their voices heard. It also means providing development and mentorship opportunities that can help employees gain new skills and connect cross-generationally within the company. 


With Baby Boomers and Gen Xers currently accounting for 62% of the overall U.S. workforce, keeping age diversity top of mind can help you find a broader range of candidates and skills, and make your company more successful. By implementing a few strategic changes to your recruiting process, you can ensure that it’s as inclusive as possible and that candidates of every age are excited to work for you.

Want to improve your recruiting strategy even further? Learn how to build a recession-proof recruiting strategy and how to set your candidates up for success

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