Finance industry plagued by ‘culture of ageism’

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The vast majority of finance professionals insist age discrimination is prevalent in Australia’s financial services industry. So how can we cure this damaging epidemic?

Seven in 10 Australia-based finance professionals insist age discrimination exists in the financial services industry, and 35% claim to have experienced it personally, according to eFinancialCareers’ latest Diversity Survey.

Age discrimination usually means older workers suffering, but the survey found that of those who said they had personally experienced age discrimination, 31% said it was because they were “too young”, while 35% reported it was because they were “too old”.

However, an overwhelming majority of respondents (80%) agree that workers aged 30 and under are adequately valued by their company. When asked the same question about workers aged over 50, the percentage of respondents in agreement dropped to 65%. 

“The industry is regularly accused of suffering from a culture of ageism, and these latest results suggest that there is still a long way to go,” said eFinancialCareers managing director Asia Pacific, George McFerran.

“What’s surprising though is that younger workers are also reporting that they have been discriminated against. This may be a result of increasing pressure in a tight hiring market, where there are currently fewer middle management roles available for younger staff to apply for.”

McFerran said making the effort to support and retain experienced workers is an essential strategy for firms’ long-term success.

“Right now there is a strong argument for financial services companies to put in place deliberate strategies for engaging and retaining older workers to ease skills shortages and sure-up their future for the long term,” said McFerran.

“They bring professional contacts, relationships, credibility and – most of all – experience.  Their expertise during challenging times like these can prevent younger professionals from making potentially unwise decisions due to a lack of perspective that can only be remedied by experience.”

McFerran added that financial services firms should revisit their retention strategies to ensure they are fair and equitable to older professionals, as well their recruitment strategies to ensure older workers are represented in a way that brings long-term value to the organisation.

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  • Stephen on 7/12/2012 12:19:44 PM

    Good article as it shows that age discrimination can affect younger people as well as the better known older worker issues that seem to plague most Australian businesses. One very prominent global business publicly states that they want ability over experience when they recruit. Who can read between the lines in that statement?

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