According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, during 2012, the median age for U.S. workers was 41.9. By the year 2022, officials project that the median age of the U.S. workforce will increase to 42.6. Additionally, based on 2013 statistics, the average retirement age for working U.S. men was nearly 64 while it was approximately 62 for working women. It turns out there may be a reason why women, more than men, are choosing to retire as soon as they turn age 62 and are eligible for Social Security.
There's no doubt that we live in a society that values and is consumed by the idea of youthfulness and looking young despite one's real age. For women, the pressures to remain physically attractive and wrinkle-free are especially great. However, aging is unavoidable and unfortunately, as a new study indicates; U.S. women appear to bear the brunt of age discrimination in the workplace.
For the study, which was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers examined the job application response rates of some 40,000 men and women of varying ages for positions within the industries of administration, security, sales and janitorial. Researchers compared the response rates of job applicants, ages 29 to 31, against those of more mature workers in two age groups, 49 to 51 and 64 to 66.
Based on their analysis, researchers noted that in general, men were less affected by age discrimination and, when it does occur, it may be more tied to a specific position and industry. For women, indications of age discrimination were much more obvious and prevalent throughout all of the industries examined. In fact, researchers noted that "there is also no scenario in which women over the age of 49 aren't punished."
While the results of this study may not be surprising to working middle-aged women, proving that they were passed up for a job because of their age can be challenging. For women and men in and around the New York City area who believe they have been the victims of age discrimination, it's wise to discuss one's case with an attorney.
Source: Bloomberg Business, "Women Face Age Discrimination Earlier and More Often Than Men," Rebecca Greenfield, Oct. 27, 2015