A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that older age signals to recruiters that applicants have lower technological skill, flexibility, and trainability levels. The relevance of these factors decline with higher levels of older workers in the company.
The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 434, 2019
What Does a Job Candidate’s Age Signal to Employers? – Download PDF
by Van Borm, Hannah & Burn, Ian & Baert, Stijn
GLO Fellow Stijn Baert
Author Abstract: Research has shown that hiring discrimination is a barrier for older job candidates in many OECD countries. However, little research has delved into why older job candidates are discriminated against. Therefore, we have conducted an online scenario experiment involving recruiters to empirically investigate 15 potential stigma related to older age drawn from a systematic review of the literature. We found that older age particularly signals to recruiters that the applicant has lower technological skill, flexibility, and trainability levels. Together, these perceptions explain about 41% of the effect of age on the probability of being invited to a job interview. In addition, we found that the negative association between age and invitation probability is smaller when recruiters work for firms with a higher percentage of older employees.
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.