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Age discrimination starts when you hit 40

They say age is only but a number, but an increase in age discrimination complaints reveals that for many Australian employers age is an important factor when hiring staff.


A national inquiry by the Australian Human Rights Commission into workplace discrimination has found a third of people who had been discriminated against gave up looking for work as a result of experiencing age discrimination – with complaints of age discrimination being received from those who are just 40 years old.

According to the commission, ‘workplace frustration’ was one of the main challenges for those in their 40s.

“Discrimination of those in their 40s does occur. Although the bulk of discrimination happens in an older age bracket with those who are 50 and over, there are widely held prejudices toward older workers and that’s why it takes place,” Age and Disability Commissioner Susan Ryan told Daily Mail Australia. 


The overall view that is held is the people won’t learn new things after a certain age or fit in with a younger team. Some employers believe that older workers aren’t as easy to train, others worry that they are unnecessarily overqualified, and therefore more likely to leave for pastures new, the minute a better opportunity comes along. That’s ridiculous, of course. Younger people are just as likely to do so too for a better opportunity.


“Both young and older workers should be given just as much attention. Ideally, businesses should work towards a situation where people from different generations work together,” says Dirk van Dierendonck, professor of human resource management at Erasmus University.

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