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Age discrimination a big factor in top income brackets
March 14, 2005
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New York, N.Y. -- With the Baby Boom generation entering its 60s this year, the American workforce is aging. By the year 2010, over half the country’s workers will be over 40. For those workers at the top of the pay scale, age discrimination has become a large concern. According to a survey conducted by TheLadders.com, a $100,000+ jobs web site, 69 percent of executives said they’ve been the victims of age discrimination when applying for a job.

When asked what they thought the biggest drivers of age discrimination were, 45 percent of survey respondents felt their companies were worried about customer perceptions of older workers. Only 28 percent blamed the higher salaries that often come along with more experienced employees. Twenty percent said that rising health costs were the culprit, and 7 percent pointed the finger at technology.

Fifty percent of the executives surveyed said that age discrimination has always been an issue, and an additional 39 percent said that it is becoming more prevalent. Eleven percent of respondents said age discrimination is a small issue.

As for what they plan to do once they officially retire – voluntarily or involuntarily – the majority of executives (51 percent) said they will continue to work on a part-time or consulting basis. A much slimmer minority will take-up the leisure time pursuits more commonly associated with the years following the gold watch: 17 percent said they’d travel and 16 percent said they’d focus on their hobbies. A group of 15 percent plans to do it all over again and start new businesses.

“The real issue here for American businesses is the risk of losing enormously valuable insights by encouraging senior talent to take a bow before they are ready for the curtain call,” says Marc Cenedella, TheLadders.com President and CEO. “Though it is encouraging to see that so many executives plan to stay in the workforce even after they retire, we feel that a lot of companies would do well to reexamine their practices to ensure that they are fostering a true growth culture.”

TheLadders.com’s look at age discrimination and retirement is based on a series of independent surveys of registered $100k+ executives conducted on TheLadders.com Web site between November 8, 2004 and January 4, 2005. The sample size and margin of error for each survey is as follows:

  • Have you ever been a victim of age discrimination? 687 Responses; Margin of Error: ±4.8 percent;
  • What are the biggest drivers of age discrimination? 582 Responses; Margin of Error: ±4.1 percent;
  • Is age discrimination more prevalent? 667 Responses; Margin of Error: ±3.8 percent; and
  • What do you plan to do after retirement? 992 Responses; Margin of Error: ±3.1 percent


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