Today’s strong economy is good news for workers as there are millions of job openings and many workers are in high demand. While that should be good news for older workers, we see little sign that employers are seeking out older workers to fill that demand. Many employers have diversity and inclusion strategies and tactics – but most don’t include age. That’s a lost opportunity. Research shows that employers would be doing themselves a lot of good by valuing the talent of experienced workers as part of a diverse, multi-generational workforce, such as improving organizational performance and individual productivity, and reducing employee turnover.

When I issued my report last year on the State of Age Discrimination and Older Workers in the U.S. 50 years After the ADEA took effect, I noted that the Great Recession made a bad situation even worse especially for older workers. Experienced workers who lost their jobs at the beginning of that economic cataclysm at age, say, 54, are now 65. That used to be a common retirement age. But many Americans now say they need to work into their late 60s and 70s given the hardships of replacing lost jobs and lost income.

That gives us all the more reason to fight workplace age discrimination with renewed vigor – and to encourage employers to do likewise. The EEOC report, along with testimony from experts at the 2017 Commission meeting on the ADEA @ 50 – More Relevant Than Ever, produced several strategies to counter age bias by changing workplace practices, such as:

Organizational leaders promoting a workplace culture that extols ability and rejects ageist stereotypes.
Including age in Diversity, Inclusion and Equity efforts and instituting age-diverse hiring panels and teams.
Analyzing and evaluating organizational strengths and weaknesses in attracting, managing, and retaining a multigenerational workforce.
Employing strategies to provide career counseling, training and development opportunities to workers at all ages and at all stages of their careers.
Reviewing recruitment strategies to make sure that they seek workers of all ages and do not limit opportunities based on age or years of service.
Training recruiters, interviewers, and managers to focus on capabilities and to avoid ageist assumptions and common misperceptions about older workers.

These strategies matter for more than just Baby Boomers. It may come as a surprise to them, but some Gen-Xers are now middle-aged. And it may come as an even bigger surprise to Millennials that the oldest of their generation will soon be older workers protected by the ADEA.

We’ve had multiple generations doing so much work to overcome stereotypes based on race and gender and to appreciate a more diverse workplace. Hopefully, we will scrap ageist stereotypes and recognize the value of age diversity as well.