Ageism in Agencies – Does it Exist?

There was a discussion in one of my LinkedIn Groups about age. Here’s the question and below that, my response:

"Q: At what age does a HR, CEO finds the candidate not employable? late 40s, 50s, 60s...be it creative, client servicing..."

The idea of too old depends on HR and the hiring manager. HR usually vets incoming resumes for open positions; and if they’re worth their salt, also actively follows talent they would like on their team.

Age shouldn't be an issue. At all. But it is.

Just because someone is pushing 50, 60 or even 70, doesn't mean their talents are dusty and they are void of current knowledge.

The problem becomes one of perception. HR, the CEO or hiring manager may be well under 40, may not have experience working with someone ‘older’, and their idea of an individual in that age-range resembles their parents.

If a person in a position to hire has had the awesome experience of working their way up through an agency with a mentor who is in that age-range, they may consider hiring someone ‘that old’. A perceptual shift.

However, I’m seeing a lot of ‘hot, young agencies’ comprised of 20- 30- somethings who are successful – but the learning curve is steep. Lots of time and dollars wasted ‘re-inventing’ what the seasoned ‘ad man’ (and woman) already know. Bill Gates said, “Success is a lousy teacher.” He is right.

Buoyed with an experienced team member, the young shops can get where they want to go faster avoiding common pitfalls. This translates to more time to work on great creative, thus eliminating unnecessary costs in time and materials.

Ageism is alive in advertising. And actually, everywhere. Those of us over 40, or 50, or 60 have a lot of knowledge. And we’re ready to share.

So to answer your question: there is not a ‘too old’. An individual doesn't fit if their experience, skills and talent are not relevant to your needs.

What do you think? If you’re ‘over 40’ have you experienced shift in your ability to get hired in your field; regarded for insight or sought-out for opinion/advice?

If you are ‘under 40’ do you find those who are older are less or more creative, capable or relevant? Would you hire someone over 50 or 60?