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Strategies of job seekers related to age-related stereotypes

Brent J. Lyons (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
Jennifer L. Wessel (Department of Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA)
Yi Chiew Tai (Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Ann Marie Ryan (Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Given the increasing diversity in the age of job seekers worldwide and evidence of perceptions of discrimination and stereotypes of job seekers at both ends of the age continuum, the purpose of this paper is to identify how perceptions of age-related bias are connected to age-related identity management strategies of unemployed job seekers.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 129 unemployed job-seeking adults who were participants in a career placement service. Participants completed paper-and-pencil surveys about their experiences of age-related bias and engagement in age-related identity management strategies during their job searches.

Findings

Older job seekers reported greater perceptions of age-related bias in employment settings, and perceptions of bias related to engaging in attempts to counteract stereotypes, mislead or miscue about one's age, and avoid age-related discussions in job searching. Individuals who were less anxious about their job search were less likely to mislead about age or avoid the topic of age, whereas individuals with higher job-search self-efficacy were more likely to acknowledge their age during their job search. Older job seekers higher in emotion control were more likely to acknowledge their age.

Originality/value

Little is known about how job seekers attempt to compensate for or avoid age-related bias. The study provides evidence that younger and older job seekers engage in age-related identity management and that job search competencies relate to engagement in particular strategies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Ashley Craft and Mary Keegin for their helpful feedback and suggestions regarding early stages of this project and Sooyeol Kim and Adam Roebuck for their help with data collection.

Citation

J. Lyons, B., L. Wessel, J., Chiew Tai, Y. and Marie Ryan, A. (2014), "Strategies of job seekers related to age-related stereotypes", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 1009-1027. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-03-2013-0078

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited