Breaking the Barrier: Overcoming Discrimination and Bias in Executive Job Search

Apr 30, 2023 | Overcoming Perceived Liabilities

Breaking the Barrier: Overcoming Discrimination and Bias in Executive Job Search

Ageism, it’s not just something you face once you are on Social Security. These days this form of discrimination is impacting very qualified upper level professionals who now find themselves in the job market in their 40s. The boundaries of ageism are expanding and this prejudice against individuals based on their age, is resulting in an abundance of exclusion or negative treatment. While this issue is not new, it has become increasingly important to address, as technology touches all areas of our lives, the population ages and people are working longer.

During part 1 of this 8-part series for navigating the challenging parts of your job search process, we will explore the current ageism issue in the job market, and ways to combat it. 


Part 1: Combatting Ageism

The Impact of Ageism:

The impact of ageism in the job market can be significant. It can result in reduced job opportunities, lower salaries, and limited opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, ageism can lead to negative stereotypes and assumptions about older workers, such as the belief that they are less technologically savvy or less productive than younger employees.

The negative effects of ageism can be felt by individuals and society as a whole. Older workers may experience financial insecurity and reduced job satisfaction, while society may miss out on the valuable contributions and experience that older workers can bring to the workplace.

So, what can be done to combat ageism in the job market?

Educate Yourself: 

It’s important to understand the different forms of discrimination and bias that exist in the workplace. Research the types of discrimination that are illegal under federal and state law, as well as the more subtle forms of bias that can impact executive job search. This can help you recognize and combat these issues when you encounter them.

Expand Your Network:

Building a diverse network of contacts can help you overcome bias and discrimination. Reach out to people from different backgrounds, industries, and age groups. Attend networking events, join professional organizations and seek mentorship from individuals who have experienced similar situations.

Be Confident: 

Confidence is key when combating discrimination and bias. Executives should focus on their skills, experiences, and qualifications and present themselves in a positive, confident manner. Remember that discrimination is not a reflection of your abilities, but rather the biases of others.

Advocate for Yourself:

If you experience discrimination or bias during the job search process, don’t be afraid to speak up. Address the issue directly and assertively. Be prepared to provide examples of how the behavior or language is discriminatory and offer solutions on how to resolve the issue.

Hold Companies Accountable:

Finally, hold companies accountable for their actions. Share your experiences with others, post reviews online and report incidents of discrimination or bias to HR departments and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). By taking these steps, you can help ensure that companies take responsibility for their actions and work to create a more inclusive workplace.



In conclusion, ageism in the job market is a significant issue that can have negative impacts on individuals and society as a whole. Combatting ageism requires a multi-faceted approach that includes addressing ageism directly, promoting intergenerational collaboration, recognizing the value of older workers, and addressing age-related barriers. By working together to combat ageism, we can create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture that values diversity and empowers workers of all ages to contribute to the workforce.

If you or someone you know is struggling to stand out in the job market and believe that their age may be blocking them from achieving their career calling, let ECP know, we’d love to help. Submit your inquiry for more information today!


Next Week, Part 2: “Navigating Job Offer Dilemmas”

Patrick Lage

Written By: Terri Wiksten, Chief Operating Officer

Terri Wiksten is a dynamic powerhouse who works harder than anyone you know and tackles every task with 100% effort while maintaining her enthusiastic, cheerleader attitude!

She loves helping professionals save time and money as they search for their next challenge and thrives on how technology turned this industry on its head, allowing for constant change and opportunity to do things better and more effectively for our clients.