17 Reasons Companies Aren’t Hiring Anyone Who’s 50 and Over

Many laws and policies highlight how wrong it is for companies or businesses to discriminate against others solely because of age. Even so, they try to find loopholes in the hiring process so that they can forgo hiring people over 50 and instead prioritize those from the younger generations. However, aside from being unfair, companies overlook valuable resources that could contribute one-of-a-kind experiences and skills that could set them up for success!

Employers Want to Avoid Higher Perceived Expenses and Fees

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As people age, they gain more experiences that allow them to improve in their chosen careers. However, they become increasingly expensive to hire, leading employers and companies to become apprehensive about hiring them. At the end of the day, companies are businesses, and they want to increase their profit.

Expertise Often Comes at a High Price

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One concrete example of why older candidates come with a perceived high cost is their expertise; after all, expertise doesn’t come cheap! Forbes shared, “There’s also a stark wage disparity between younger earners in the 16 to 19 age group and their older counterparts. On average, these young workers earn 49.92% less, which can be attributed to factors such as limited work experience, a narrower skill set, and occupying entry-level positions.” This means that while 16 to 19-year-olds earn $611 weekly and 20 to 24-year-olds earn $737 weekly, those between 45 and 54 earn $1,239 weekly!

They Believe That Every Worker Is Replaceable and, Therefore, Anyone Is Trainable

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Today, a recurring advice given to most employees is not to work that hard because they will always be replaceable in the eyes of their employees. Sadly, in many cases, this is true. In fact, companies tend to lay off or fire older generations to make room for the younger generation, who are significantly cheaper in terms of salary. Although some may argue that the younger generation lacks the expertise that older people have, they counter this by saying they can just train the younger ones like they did the others!

There Are Doubts Regarding One’s Ability to Update and Improve Their Skills

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Good skills and the ability to keep up with changing times are crucial for every employee’s career progression. However, they’re also needed for someone, especially those who belong to the older generation, to stay in their jobs or positions. Sadly, studies have found that older workers are less likely to participate in training and mentoring than their younger counterparts. This means employers can easily doubt how older employees can keep up with the many technological advancements and innovations.

There Is a Mistaken Assumption That Older Employees Cannot Grasp Any Technological Advancements

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Let’s face it; older generations are not part of the digital native generations, such as Gen Z. Though this is the case, it’s wrong and unethical for them to be discriminated against just because of the challenges they face with technological advancements. Sadly, this is quite common in many companies, and many get laid off because businesses choose those from the younger generations over them. An article published in Walden University notes, “Older workers, who were once admired for their knowledge, work ethics, and skills, are now being pushed aside to make way for a younger, more technologically advanced generation of workers.”

Employers Are Apprehensive Because of Gerontophobia; They Fear Aging

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When someone is gerontophobic or fears aging, they experience higher levels of worry, avoidance, and apprehension toward any behavior or sign related to aging. Sadly, this fear sometimes manifests in the workplace, preventing hiring managers from considering older candidates, even if they can contribute a lot to the team.

Employers Seek Long-Term Commitment

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When someone is in their 50s, they are in more of a position to be less tolerant of the things they don’t have patience for. So, if something in the workplace doesn’t suit their values, they can easily decide to up and leave. Additionally, those in their 50s have 10 or so years left in the working world, and this isn’t something employers want. They seek long-term commitment—something they believe they won’t find in older candidates.

Older Employees Are Close to Reaching Retirement Age

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In the United States, people can start receiving part of their Social Security retirement benefits as early as 62, and they are entitled to the rest when they reach their full retirement age of 66 or 67. This is a tangible illustration that those in their 40s and 50s are much closer to retirement than their younger counterparts. This means there’s a higher chance of these older employees leaving the company earlier, which a company sees as wasting their time and resources.

Employers Always Think, “Out With the Old, in With the New”

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This mentality is not inherently wrong. In fact, in many cases, working with this kind of mindset helps a company grow and progress despite many economic challenges. However, this mentality becomes pervasive when viewed through a discriminatory hiring lens. Though some hiring managers think that older candidates have nothing good to bring to the table, they must still be open to considering all the experiences and wisdom they have to offer.

Older Employees Are Often Regarded as Stiff and Inflexible

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Many believe that older people are set in their ways and, therefore, have problems adjusting to changes in the workplace. However, in most cases, this is simply not true. Most people from the older generation were raised to have a strong work ethic, which includes being persevering, diligent, and tenacious, especially when they need to achieve specific goals and deadlines. This means they can and are willing to adjust and try new things like anyone else!

Employers Believe There Will Be Generational Gaps in Workplace Dynamics

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As younger people enter the workplace, there’s becoming more of an imbalance in workplace dynamics. Employers believe that people from the younger generations can’t relate to those from the older generations and vice versa. They feel that these differences make teamwork and productivity suffer. Because of this, they try to employ more younger people and lay off older people to minimize the generational gaps in workplace dynamics.

Older Employees Are Believed to Have More Apparent Health Risks and Impediments

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It’s no secret that as people age, they become more susceptible to illnesses and chronic diseases. Because of this, employers feel they’ll be left with even more expenses if they hire older candidates; it’s simply not worth it for them. ValuePenguin shares, “Age affects your health insurance rates in most states. The average cost of health insurance is higher for older people since they typically need more medical services.”

They Feel as if Older Employees Won’t Have the Stamina to Keep Up

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At the end of the day, companies are still businesses that prioritize profit over anything else. Because of this, employers typically equate their employees’ stamina with productivity and profit. This leads them to believe that older employees aren’t worth hiring, as they won’t have the stamina to keep up with their deliverables, preventing them from being as productive as the company would like.

Employers Prefer Hiring Individuals They Feel Connected To

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As the workplace becomes laden with younger individuals and upper management positions are filled by people from the younger generations, more specifically, millennials, it becomes increasingly more challenging for older people to have a place in the workplace. This sad fact has been going on for years. Employers and hiring managers want to keep the balance in the workplace dynamics. Since they feel they’ll connect better with people from the younger generations, they tend to disregard applicants who are quite older.

The Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion Is Skewed Toward Younger Generations

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Companies advocate for diversity in the workplace. However, the problem with this is that they usually focus on other things and forget about the age discrimination that’s becoming increasingly rampant in society. An article by Richard Spencer published on LinkedIn contrasts this practice: “We seem hardwired to start discriminating against people from the age of 50 onward, which is why diversity in the workplace must include age diversity. Recognizing and valuing employees of all ages is essential for fostering an inclusive and dynamic work environment.”

Younger Hiring Managers Fear Older Candidates Will Reveal Their Lack of Knowledge

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It’s no secret that people over 50 have amassed greater knowledge, expertise, and experience compared to people from the younger generation simply because of their age and how long they’ve been in the working world. Because of this, some young hiring managers fear that older employees could uncover gaps in their knowledge or expertise. However, what they must remember is that this is not necessarily a bad thing, as they could improve and better themselves through teamwork.

There Is a Negative Market Attitude Toward Older Candidates

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Though discrimination against older employees is illegal, there’s no contesting the fact that there are some negative market attitudes toward older candidates. These are usually fueled by their many misconceptions about the older generation or the perceived heightening of costs tied to those in their 50s and up.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.