Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Old and Unemployable? How Age-Based Stereotypes Affect Willingness to Hire Job Candidates

Abrams, Dominic, Swift, Hannah J., Drury, Lisbeth (2016) Old and Unemployable? How Age-Based Stereotypes Affect Willingness to Hire Job Candidates. Journal of Social Issues, 72 (1). pp. 105-121. ISSN 0022-4537. (doi:10.1111/josi.12158) (KAR id:55840)


Across the world people are required or want to work until an increasingly old age. But how might prospective employers view job applicants who have skills and qualities that they associate with older adults? This paper draws on social role theory, age stereotypes and research on hiring biases, and reports 3 studies using age-diverse North American participants. These studies reveal that a) positive older age stereotype characteristics are viewed less favorably as criteria for job hire, b) even when the job role is low status a younger stereotype profile tends to be preferred, and c) an older stereotype profile is only considered hirable when the role is explicitly cast as subordinate to that of a candidate with a younger age profile. Implications for age-positive selection procedures and ways to reduce the impact of implicit age biases are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/josi.12158
Uncontrolled keywords: ageism, hiring decisions, stereotypes, aging workforce, social roles
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: Age UK (
Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Dominic Abrams
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 15:58 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 10:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Abrams, Dominic.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:

Swift, Hannah J..

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.