The 3 Types of Workplace Ageism

(And Phrases You’ll Hear if You Experience It)

Ageism has long been believed to be a driver of layoffs and other unfair workplace practices, long before the pandemic.

Research from Fairygodboss, for instance, shows that of workers who report having experienced ageism in the workplace, 27% said they’d been laid off for reasons they believed were rooted in their age.

Ageism still proves a significant barrier for those looking for work, as well. According to that same research, 43% of respondents believe they’ve been passed over for a job for age-related reasons.

Here are three of the most common types of ageism on a broad level. As you’ll see, it’s a model that’s reflected in other forms of discrimination, from racism to sexism as well.

Because this ageism is so specific to an individual, internalized attitudes and beliefs can be harder to spot in others. But it’s also a helpful starting point for examining our relationship to ageist beliefs.

Individual Ageism.

For example, if one of your older colleagues was put on a project involving advanced technologies, would you question why they had been given that assignment? Why would you question it?

Ageism unfolds between individuals; a person’s ageism will likely give way to interpersonal instances of ageism.

Interpersonal Ageism.

Let’s say you hear a colleague make an “OK, boomer” joke. Or your younger boss makes a statement of surprise that you have such a robust presence on social media.

Swipe up to learn more!