The Many Faces of Ageism – How Can We Bridge the Generational Gap?

Bias and discrimination are something that many of us have to constantly face due to factors such as gender or ethnicity. A characteristic that has the potential to affect almost all employees during their careers is age.  

Age discrimination is commonly referred to as ageism, and it can take many different forms through our lives. Ageism encompasses a range of negative attitudes and stereotypes towards individuals or groups based on their age.  

This can include discrimination in the workplace and societal devaluation of older people’s contributions and value. Additionally, ageism can manifest in policies and practices that fail to take into account the needs and rights of older people, or that treat them as less capable of innovation and progress. 

An issue with many layers 

On the other hand, there has been an increase in age-based discrimination towards younger workers.

Thus, the typical experience of ageism is commonly U-shaped across one’s lifetime, with the youngest and oldest workers more likely to suffer from age-based discrimination.  

The severity of this differs across sectors, but is consistently notable. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 2 people are ageist against older people globally, and in Europe, younger people report more perceived ageism than other age groups.

Bridging the generational gap

Older workers often find it more difficult to change career paths and are seen as having less competency when it comes to tech.  

This means that you are less likely to be offered training and opportunities, shortlisted for interviews, and tend to be unemployed for longer when losing their jobs. 

Younger workers tend to be seen as more unreliable and subsequently be given less responsibility and opportunities to develop.

Gen Z, the newest generation that has entered the workforce, also tend to put higher importance on the values and positive impact of their place of employment. 

Age discrimination can ‘lead to the formation of workplace ingroups and outgroups, which reduces information sharing and collaboration.’

This information sharing and collaboration across generations that can be the key to competing age discrimination and create a working environment that is overall more inclusive.


SHE Young

With this in mind, we are very excited by the knowledge our partners will be bringing to the SHE Young stage at this year’s SHE Conference.  

The main goal of this addition is to provide a bridge between generation – those who possess more industry experience, connections, and knowledge; and the less experienced young people who may bring unique viewpoints, talents, and ways of working. You can read more about SHE Young here. 

By bringing in the expertise and experience of Handelshøyskolen BI, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU), and Opinion AS, together with corporate partners Sopra Steria, Telenor, and Aker BP ASA – we are excited to be able to provide a space that allows to create collaborations between generations and highlight the importance of including those who may not yet have the opportunity to have their voices and ideas heard. 


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