The Experience Advocacy Taskforce (EAT) is calling for the media and advertising industry to take immediate action and work towards making ageism a non-issue for the next generation of industry professionals.
Using Global Ageism Awareness Day (October 7) as a platform to raise awareness of the existence and impact of ageism in Australia’s media and advertising industry, EAT says it is a sad, and frightening, statistic that only five per cent of the media industry’s workforce is age 50 or over, significantly lower than the Australian workforce average.
Greg Graham, EAT’s founder said the Taskforce was founded to work alongside Industry Bodies and Leaders to increase understanding and awareness of ageism and its effect on the industry, with an ultimate goal to change how people think, feel, and act about ageism.
Graham said: “Ageism is widespread, but often concealed, and the only way forward is to start to change the narrative and bring the discussion out of the shadows by spreading awareness. When we consider that only 5 per cent of media industry employees are over age 50, we know we cannot keep discriminating against such a huge and experienced pool of our workplace population.
“To improve our industry and take advantage of the vast amount of experience that these workers bring, we need to update our attitudes, structures, and practices and work towards ending ageism discrimination.”
Graham continued: “Even more concerning is when we consider the long-term impact of ageism on future generations.”
In terms of retaining and employing people over 40 years, ageism is one of the greatest forms of discrimination in Australia and is is even more extreme in the media and advertising industry. It has the highest unconscious biases. But like all forms of discrimination, it effects people’s health and wellbeing and as an industry it limits diversity of thinking which is proven to be more productive
By working with Industry Bodies and Leaders, EAT is committed to breaking down barriers that perpetuate age-based discrimination and foster an age-inclusive industry that values the wisdom and experience of individuals. As a benchmark EAT is asking industry leaders and bodies to actively engage by developing workplace initiatives and policies to address the issue so collectively, we can work to effectively combat ageism and promote an environment that values experience.
Simple immediate actions include:
Challenge age-related biases and assumptions, fostering a workplace environment where expertise is celebrated irrespective of age.
Take the pledge and show support by signing EAT’s Change Org petition. https://www.change.org/experienceadvocacy
Make a difference and stamp out unconscious bias by doing the SBS Age Diversity Model and Every Age Counts Quiz. https://inclusion-program.com.au/ and https://www.everyagecounts.org.au/quiz
EAT is conducting initial research to assess the scale of the issue which will be followed by in-depth studies to provide greater insight and explore solutions to address ageism issues. Results from these studies will be shared generously across the industry encouraging agencies to take note and implement D&I initiatives that include ageism as a priority.
Graham continued: “We know from global studies that a more diverse age workforce is more productive and proactive.
“We listen to conversations that colleagues are having about their years left in the industry and their feeling that they need to have an “Exit Plan” for when they reach the age of 40. It may seem like a plotline borrowed from a Netflix series but it is a topic that often comes up as many cannot see a lot of older workers working within their agency, and are worried for their future in this business.
“So much ageism happens unconsciously, and it’s allowed to keep happening because we are not celebrating experience and knowledge enough. EAT is about working towards making ageism a non-issue for future generations.
“Drawing attention to the existence and impact of ageism in our industry ahead of Global Ageism Awareness Day on October 7, is an opportunity to highlight the issue, but really a day is not the answer, we need to combat ageism every day of the year,” said Graham.
“EAT recognises this age imbalance is not new and change takes time, so we have set ourselves an ambitious – but we believe achievable – goal to dismantle the Taskforce by 2030,” he concluded.
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