A common fear of job seekers over the age of 40 is age discrimination. Will a younger, less experienced person, making less money, be the competition? We did some research to find out if those fears are warranted or all in your imagination.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states, “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.” So while it may not be a comfort that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers 40 old, it does provide some protection.
The last study on the US work force and age was conducted in 2013 by the US Department of Labor. It showed the age group with the most employed workers in all industries was the 45-54 year old age bracket, the second highest employed age group was the 25-34 age group and third was 35 to 44 year olds. The median age of the US Worker was 42.4 years old.
There are a few areas that are an exception including the health care fields of: pharmaceutical manufacturing, scientific research and development services, hospitals and advertising. In these fields the majority of workers are a little younger at 35 to 44 years of age. The advertising industry and the people who work in hospitals are even younger, with a work forces majority of 35 to 44 years old. Since 2013 to 2015 all indications point towards this trend of an older work force being the new norm.
So is this good news? It appears by the data that being 40-50 is not an issue. In fact, your competition is more likely going to be someone in your own age bracket, or close to it. The question remains, do you have to worry about being hired at a lesser salary? On this front the news is not good, but it’s not good for everyone, young and old alike. A report from the Economic Policy Institute finds wages for the vast majority of American workers have been flat or falling for entry level and experienced workers. An article from Payscale backs this up “stating that in general salaries cap out after 40”.
Overall the workforce in the majority of industries is getting older in the US, while salaries remain stagnant and in some cases have dropped. So if you over the age of 40, your fears of age discrimination should lesson but do not expect to get any significant pay increase.
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