U.S. executives report an increase in age discrimination over the past five years in a recent survey conducted by ExecuNet, an online career-management service for executives. In the survey of 199 executives, 58% say age discrimination in hiring has increased in the past five years, 36% say it has remained the same, and 6% say it has decreased. "These findings suggest that as the baby-boomer generation grows older, age discrimination is showing up more often," says Dave Opton, ExecuNet CEO and founder. "Age bias is not a new obstacle, but it is alarming to see it increase during a period of unprecedented growth in the employment market." Layoffs accompanying the current economic downturn are putting older executives at greater risk for such discrimination, those who were surveyed report. Sixty-six percent of the executives older than 50 say they have encountered age discrimination in a job search, and 65% are worried it will force them into retirement before they are ready. ExecuNet offers these tips if one suspects age bias during a job interview:
- Understand what assumptions the interviewer might make on the basis of age and counter them with knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm.
- Demonstrate how your experience and qualifications will be valuable in solving specific problems facing the company.
- Illustrate your awareness and understanding of relevant technology.