Due to a number of reasons, the least not being troubles with modern technology, age discrimination in the workplace has become a recent point of concern in the business sector, just as ageism in healthcare is a growing issue on that front. In both sectors, artificial intelligence is helping to combat the effects that implicit biases related to different generations can have on the quality of life for the aging population.
Even though artificial intelligence is usually still only spoken of in relation to tech fields, it is part of every corner of the U.S. business world, and when utilized correctly can save companies a lot of labor hours, and more importantly, help reduce disparities by eliminating bias from certain processes. AI advances are expected to reshape every aspect of the future workplace, and here are a few ways that AI is helping lessen the frequency of age discrimination during the hiring process.
Though AI is responsible for some of the programs that allow for quick sifting of applications for a given job, it’s not always used fairly, or even legally. Some companies were programming systems to only look at email submissions from applicants with .edu email address, as employees new to the workforce will generally work for cheaper, even though they may be heavily lacking in experience.
Unlike a few decades ago, the 60+ population does not have nearly as much saved, on the whole, as that same age demographic did before the turn of the century. Currently, 75% of the entire population has less than $250,000 saved for retirement, with people in their sixties averaging about $75,000 less than that… meaning people are going to have to work longer, in general.
With this need for more work, ageism in hiring is becoming a legitimate issue, and many steps are being taken to right the wrong, including those involving artificial intelligence.
HR and AI
Many human resources departments have rightfully adapted to the world of social media as a means to find new people to join their given company. From facebook to Instagram, and especially LinkedIn, hopeful job candidates have spruced up their social media pages to make themselves more appealing to companies. The vast majority of jobs, however, have nothing to do with social media, and the population that grew up without it is being cut out of these hiring practices simply due to a lack of the same generational norms that the majority of people under forty are familiar with (social media).
HR programs that used to scour these websites for keywords and phrases are now being used the same way, but with classic resumes, giving those without social media the same opportunities to be notices as those who utilize it well. Given, in certain fields like marketing and ecommerce, social media skills are essential, so looking at those websites is legitimate in those cases.
AI and Bias
Even the most pure-souled individuals on the planet have some implicit biases in them, and with common jokes like “old people can’t drive” and things of the like, some of these biases involve older people and their capabilities. With AI programs made to search through resumes and cover letters searching only for things relative to employment can make the early steps of a hiring process truly blind to age, race, religion, gender, etc.
The final step in eliminating ageism is by doing it in the humans who are responsible for using these programs, and ultimately doing the hiring. By training on the biases mentioned above, and empowering older employees by allowing them to hold trainings on their “old tricks” and attend trainings on new technologies will help this generational issue ultimately disappear in a time when people need to continue working much longer than they have in the past.