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Labor market. Ageism. PIE: younger candidates are more often invited to an interview than people aged 50+

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People under 30 were invited for a job interview twice as often as 50-plus candidates, according to a study by the Polish Economic Institute. Age discrimination in the labor market is particularly visible in Warsaw.

The authors of the PIE report “Ageism in Poland – a summary of an experimental field study” confirmed the presence of discrimination against a job applicant on the basis of age. Younger candidates, under 30, were invited to an interview on average twice as often as people over 50.

“This phenomenon is especially visible in Warsaw, where younger candidates applying for jobs in specialized positions requiring experience were invited to an interview up to 4 times more often compared to 1.76 times in the case of people applying for a similar job outside the capital” – indicated.

“Ageism seems to be linked to gender discrimination, and the combined effects of these two harmful social phenomena make the position of older women in the Polish labor market extremely difficult,” the report said.


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PIE study. Young people invited to an interview more often

The head of the behavioral economics team at PIE, Agnieszka Wincewicz-Price, explained that the study was conducted between August and October 2021. The researchers took into account “employers’ preferences at the level of initial selection of candidates” and the language of published offers. – The field experiment consisting in sending applications to work by fictitious people aged 28 and 52 showed significant differences in the rate of positive responses to received offers – indicated the expert.

She added that fictional candidates were involved in recruiting for positions in the sales and customer service industries, as well as finance, banking and insurance. – The results clearly indicate the phenomenon of ageism in these areas of the labor market, both in the case of offers containing the minimum requirements for candidates and in the case of recruitment processes for positions for which industry experience is required – added the expert. She stipulated that “the discrimination identified in this way is statistical in nature and cannot be unequivocally ascribed to subjective prejudices or a conscious favoring of younger people by employers in Poland”.

The first stage of the experiment consisted in searching for offers for a position for which a minimum of professional experience was required. In the second stage, applications were sent in response to more specialized offers that required documentation of experience in a similar position.

The authors of the report indicated that when comparing the indicators by region in Warsaw, the younger person was invited to an interview much more often, both in the case of positions that did not require experience, as well as the more specialized ones. “Experienced people over the age of 50 were invited to the meeting more than four times less often than their younger rivals” – indicated.

Discrimination and the content of advertisements

According to the authors of the report, the discrimination cannot be seen in the content of the advertisements. “In 473 analyzed job offers posted on recruitment portals, the term ‘young’ appeared in various forms 27 times. In most cases it referred to the team, once it appeared in the context of ‘layette for young parents'” – indicated in the report.

In turn, terms that are stereotypically assigned to young people, such as ‘energetic’ or ‘dynamic’, appeared 7 and 29 times, respectively. “Also in this case, however, they mainly referred to the description of the work environment or the team, and not to the requirements for candidates” – summarized.

In the opinion of PIE, the collected data should be used, inter alia, “designing solutions to prevent and neutralize the negative effects of ageism”. It was emphasized that encouraging mature employees to raise their qualifications and improve their competences will have tangible effects only when “their efforts are noticed by employers ready to use their skills”.

In the study as part of the report, 1,260 submitted applications for work were analyzed.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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