People born between 1965 and 1980 are often referred to as Generation X. They are known for being latch-key kids and the “forgotten generation.” As this group enters into their 50s they are experiencing some changes in the workplace.
Ask anyone what they consider to be the traditional age for retirement in the United States and they will almost assuredly say that it is 65 years of age. However, Gen-Xers, who currently are considered middle-aged, may find themselves facing forced early retirement.
When did this trend start?
The baby boomer generation was the first to see a shift toward ageism. As people born between 1946 and 1964 entered their 50s, they began to be let go from their jobs in favor of younger employees. Now, it seems Gen-X is facing the same problem.
The technology industry in particular is known for dropping their older employees for younger ones. The term “digital immigrant” refers to Gen-Xers and other generations born before the technological revolution that began in the late 80s and early 90s.
Gen-Xers lived their formative years in an analog world. As they graduated from high school, they began to adapt to the trend toward technology. For some employers, this makes them “digital immigrants.” The tech industry is more interested in “digital natives” who were born in the 90s and later because these generations have always had technology as a part of their lives.
What can be done to prevent ageism in the workplace?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was put in place to help both employers and employees understand what is considered ageism in the workplace. The ADEA outlaws age discrimination in hiring, training, payment, promotions, and firing practices. If you are an employee who is being discriminated against because of your age, it may benefit you to speak with an experienced legal advisor.