AI and Ageism – Will AI Mitigate or Exacerbate Ageism?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a powerful tool in various facets of modern life, and its impact on ageism, particularly in the context of recruitment and employee retention, is likely to be a major factor. Ageism, the prejudice or discrimination against individuals based on their age, has long been a concern in the workplace, with older workers facing challenges in securing employment or advancing in their careers. According to recent statistics, a significant percentage of older workers report experiencing age-related discrimination at work. AI has the potential to both exacerbate and, more importantly, mitigate ageism in the workforce.

The Role of AI in Recruitment

AI in Recruitment Processes

AI algorithms are increasingly used to streamline the hiring process, from screening CVs to, in some instances, conducting initial interviews and assessing skillsets. While this automation can lead to greater efficiency and reduced bias in some cases, it also raises real concerns about the perpetuation of ageist practices.

Potential Biases in AI Algorithms

AI algorithms can inadvertently discriminate against older candidates by favouring criteria such as recent work experience or technological proficiency, which younger candidates are more likely to possess. Additionally, if not carefully designed and monitored, AI systems may learn biases from historical data, further perpetuating ageism in hiring practices. Real-world examples show that some companies have faced backlash for biased hiring algorithms.

Blind Hiring Techniques

One way AI can combat ageism in recruitment is through the implementation of blind hiring techniques. By anonymising certain demographic information, such as age, gender, and ethnicity, AI-driven applicant tracking systems can help ensure that candidates are evaluated based solely on their qualifications and skills. This can level the playing field for older workers (and indeed other protected groups) who may otherwise face discrimination based on age-related stereotypes.

AI Solutions to Combat Ageism in Recruitment

Objective Evaluations Through AI

AI-powered assessment tools can provide more objective evaluations of candidates’ skills and competencies, minimising the influence of subjective biases that may favour younger applicants. Cognitive assessments and job simulations can measure abilities relevant to the job requirements, allowing employers to make more informed decisions based on merit rather than age. For instance, some companies have implemented AI-driven cognitive tests that focus solely on job-related skills, effectively reducing bias.

Cognitive Assessments and Job Simulations

These assessments and simulations can be tailored to evaluate practical skills and cognitive abilities, ensuring that candidates are judged based on their actual potential to perform the job. Case studies from organisations that have adopted these practices can illustrate the effectiveness of these tools in reducing age-related biases.

Impact of AI on Employee Retention

Challenges for Older Workers in Adapting to Technology

Older workers often face challenges in adapting to technological changes in the workplace, which can lead to feelings of obsolescence and isolation. This issue is exacerbated by the rapid pace of technological advancements that demand continuous learning and adaptation.

AI in Upskilling and Reskilling

AI can play a transformative role in upskilling and reskilling efforts, helping older employees stay relevant in an evolving job market. AI-driven personalised learning platforms can tailor training programs to individual needs and learning styles, enabling older workers to acquire new skills at their own pace. Examples of older workers successfully adapting to new technologies with the help of AI can be highlighted.

AI-Driven Learning and Development

Personalised Learning Platforms

Personalised learning platforms powered by AI can assess an employee’s current skill set and recommend tailored learning paths. These platforms cater to different learning styles and paces, ensuring that training is accessible and effective for employees of all ages.

Continuous Learning and Development Culture

By fostering a culture of continuous learning and development, organisations can empower employees of all ages to thrive in a rapidly changing environment. AI can identify skill gaps and suggest relevant training programs, promoting an inclusive culture where learning and development are ongoing processes.

Intergenerational Collaboration through AI

AI-Enabled Mentoring Platforms

AI-enabled mentoring and knowledge-sharing platforms can facilitate intergenerational collaboration, allowing older workers to leverage their experience and expertise while benefiting from the fresh perspectives of younger colleagues. Specific platforms that enable these interactions can be discussed.

Fostering Inclusivity and Mutual Respect

By fostering a sense of inclusivity and belonging, these initiatives can help combat ageism within the workforce and promote a culture of diversity and mutual respect. Case studies of successful intergenerational projects facilitated by AI can be provided to illustrate these points.


While AI has the potential to perpetuate ageism in recruitment and employee retention, it also offers innovative solutions for combating bias and promoting inclusivity in the workplace. By leveraging AI-driven technologies to implement fair and transparent hiring practices, upskill older employees, and foster intergenerational collaboration, organisations can create an environment where age is no longer a barrier to success. Future predictions on the evolving role of AI in combating ageism and policy recommendations for ethical and effective adoption of AI technologies can further guide organisations in this direction