Glass Ceiling, Grey Sideline
The term Glass Ceiling refers to the fact that a qualified person wishing to advance within the hierarchy of his/her organisation is stopped at a lower level due to discrimination — most often based on sexism or racism.
The glass ceiling most commonly refers to vertical discrimination most frequently against women in companies.
I want to introduce you to a similar analogy — The Grey Sideline.
When it comes to ageism, it isn’t so much about vertical discrimination or advancement, it is more about being kicked out of the game entirely.
In various studies over the past few years, it has been reported that between 27% and 50% of mature people, over the age of 50, experience discrimination in the workplace.
This can start as being overlooked for ongoing training, and end up in redundancy.
On the other side of the employment divide — trying to get a job — it manifests as an inability to even get to interview with mature people taking up to two years or more to get a new job if unemployed.
The word sidelined means to prevent someone from being involved in something that they would normally expect to be involved in.
The Grey Sideline is an imagined sideline drawn on the side of the workplace ‘field’ with very real consequences for the individual being sidelined and for our society as a whole.
In Australia alone, we have approximately 200,000 mature Australians who are willing to work but not currently in employment. If we make them all wait an average two years to secure a job, we’ve wasted 800,000,000 potential hours of employed productivity. If these hours were valued at even a conservative $50/hour — that is a whopping $40billion in productivity.
Want a scary number? In 30 years, if we keep the same trends and the same ageist practices — this could be 8 billion hours and $400b in productivity losses.
We need to scratch out the Grey Sideline and let our mature populations get back in the game. No more time outs.