Is Age a Barrier in Recruitment?

Age can be one of the biggest barriers to gaining employment around the world. This issue is also felt by candidates in Southeast Asia, and often more so for women. As a recruitment agency in Vietnam, we’ve talked to countless candidates who have unfortunately experienced ageism in the recruitment process, which they feel has contributed to them losing great employment opportunities throughout their careers.

According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Opportunity Index, most employees have experienced variations of inequality in the workplace – whether it’s job security, poor perception and recognition from superiors, or lack of professional guidance. Ageism is a form of discrimination that we wish to bring into the spotlight to raise awareness of the biases that can exist in relation to recruitment.

Recruitment biases against age

Sometimes a candidate’s age may be a barrier during recruitment, and it’s the same across all generations, but most especially for Gen Z and Baby Boomers. For the younger generation, their age may suggest a lack of workplace or industry experience, while for the older generations, they may be considered inadequate or lacking a ‘fresh perspective’ in today’s digital world. These assumptions can be damaging to a candidate’s career if they exclude them from opportunities where they may actually excel.

For most talent staffing agencies in Vietnam, it is common to refer to a candidate’s age range during the recruitment process. However, this is not fair. When it comes to the younger generations, more than age, it is more important to look at a candidate’s skills, experience, motivation and potential in adapting to the work they’re applying for to ensure that all candidates get an equal opportunity in job applications. Similarly, no older candidate should be ruled out due to a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s preconceived ideas about age groups and attitudes. Greater age diversity in the workforce allows for improved customer service as generally client and customer groups will be diverse in age range too.

Gender and age inequality for women

With career breaks due to pregnancy and raising children, women often have fewer years to further their careers. This puts them at a disadvantage against men who don’t necessarily need similar breaks in their careers. Similarly, females may not always get the opportunity to climb the career ladder on their return to entering the workforce, especially if there have been large breaks in their CV. Gender diversity in all levels of business, but especially in senior roles is crucial to all genders feeling represented in the company.

The good news is that many companies globally are now making inroads to track and improve diversity, especially gender equality in their organizations.

Increases in the retirement age

For the first time in world history, the number of people aged 65 or older is going to outstrip children under the age of 5. According to the World Health Organisation, the number of people aged 65 or older is estimated to grow from circa 524 million in 2010 to almost 1.5 billion in 2050. Most of this increase is also expected to be in developing countries. Globally this is reportedly driven by increased life expectancy and falling fertility rates.

We are also seeing the shift in retirement age in many countries. Not only are people living longer due to better nutrition and healthcare, many countries also want individuals to work for more years to slow the spiraling expense of pensions and healthcare for retirees.

Vietnam is also seeing such changes take place. From early 2021, the retirement age shifted upwards slightly to 60 years and three months for men. This will gradually go up to finally reach 62 by 2028. For women, the retirement age went up slightly this year to 55 years and four months, and will annually increase until it reaches 60 in 2035.

Age brings great experience and expertise to the workplace. With people staying in the workforce for longer it is important that companies and recruitment agencies in Vietnam ‘embrace the grey’ and ensure they start to remove any age bias that may exist in their organization.

Recruitment agency in Ho Chi Minh

The Talent Consultants is a trusted talent staffing agency and permanent recruitment services provider in Ho Chi Minh that can help you find the right candidate or job, and will never discriminate based on age. We specialize in recruiting senior executives to help companies hire exceptional talent who can make an impact in strategy, management, and leadership. To know more about what The Talent Consultants can do for your company, please email matthew@thetalentconsultants.com for a confidential discussion.