America’s Ageism Epidemic: Hurting All Generations

I often discuss Ageism within corporations but I recently read an interesting article focused on one particular industry and as I expected, the findings are in line with what I’ve been informing my audience about for the last few years: Ageism cuts both ways.

As I continue to say, Ageism is not just a retirement-only senior citizen thing.

In the advertising industry, companies today are truly lacking in qualified multi-generational leadership, and they burning their candles at both ends. When it comes to making decisions as the article I cite says that the young and the older are getting left out of the conversation: “From recent graduates who are “too young to have an opinion,” to those who are “too old to be innovative,” ageism in the advertising industry is pervasive.

So who is working and making decisions in the advertising industry? Apparently, the power and voice of who gets to make decisions within a corporation on a broader sense is, as is in other industries, getting younger and younger. According to the article, “the 2017 IPA census, the definitive annual survey of employment trends in media, advertising and marketing communication agencies, the average age of employees in all IPA member agencies is 33.7 and has remained the average since 2009.”  

We are in a time when the power is in the hands of young people in their 30’s.  We have really come to a crossroads in ensuring that society at large will have a shortened career life. This does not help the young 30 year old person either; how mentoring have they had, how many complex projects have they led and most of all, they too will have a shortened career within just a few years down the road. Since the beginning of this century we are cutting the career-life of every generation and because of this everyone will suffer a lack of corporate growth and ability to generate wealth for retirement.

Consider if an employee had the traditional prior generations career ladder, continued growth and  mentoring while moving up a career ladder, learning and being mentored while mentoring others to age 60. That is how it used to be and what an amazing wealth of knowledge transfer that person was able to provide.  But today if the power is in the 33 year old, is that enough time to have been mentored and gained enough experience?

The advertising industry seems is line with other industries across the board as Ageism continues to grow more pervasive and into an epidemic, wreaking havoc on all generations. This would be why, ultimately, we are: 1. increasingly a debt society as well as 2. A larger and larger population of our society cannot retire and must work till the end of their lives and lastly 3. Why 80% of our population doesn’t have $1,000.00 in savings for an emergency.

The article cites a statistic that tells you where we are at nationally: a recent report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which received 20,857 claims of age discrimination in 2017, found that 65 percent of older employees reported their age had been a barrier to getting a job.”

So why does this happen? In America, the great country known for the American Dream, why can’t people have a long career path anymore? The word ignorant doesn’t mean a person is stupid, it simply means a person is not educated on a particular subject, and in that sense, we are all ignorant in many things. This brings me to my point, our society is blinded and running on ignorance and misguided beliefs and biases created by the myths that, as the article states: “over-emphasis and misguided idolization of “digital natives” who are deemed more equipped to handle the ever changing technological landscape. Consider that if this were true, then why is the average CEO age in the mid to late 50’s?

We are living in a time when we are driving blindly by “trendy thinking” and assume all young tech-savvy people will be better employees and dismissing older employees that often possess depth and breadth that can handle the complex challenges and hurdles of the corporate needs – they have typically been-there-done that.  Experience is no longer trending?!  This is where we are at in 2019.

Here is the bottom line for America: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people that are older than 65 make up the fastest growing segment in the work force while the age group of 35-54 is growing much slower. As we grow older and live healthier lives, we are living longer but also can’t afford to retire and struggle to make ends meet by losing compensation and career upward mobility and the number of people over 65 that are expected to keep working will be rising from 19 to 29 percent in the next few decades.

But if we stay on the Age Discrimination trajectory we are on, I see two major things will happen: the majority of our American society will continue to struggle to make ends meet falling into a more depressive society. This will be at odds with a country with so much wealth, and continued bitterness will grow as it has been and the other is companies will foolishly be losing out on a massive knowledge pool that can increase their revenues.

What is the ultimate result of this? I predict the poorer we continue to make our entire population, the less our overall GDP will grow. If people can’t put money back into our system, we stop growing. We are making our own society less and less wealthy while many other countries are doing the opposite and growing their societies career longevity and ultimately enriching their populations.

Consider this, which country’s system and society will become more powerful in decades to come?  Food for thought.

I address everything above and much more in my new book, YOUR FUTURE IN PIECES – now on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback

Learn about your country and stay informed about what’s happening:

The article I cited:

Photo by Austin Distel









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