The resistance to hiring older candidates misses a huge opportunity to learn from diverse experiences and a wealth of industry knowledge.
It's also an opportunity to understand the minds of baby boomers who hold 70% of the Australia's buying power but are only targeted in 10% of ads. Quite an obvious solution to sales conversion.
Talk of ageism is now front and centre of agency land talk, despite the prior emphasis of cultural, gender and class diversity.
Agency land's average age is 38 and only 5% of its workforce are 50+.
Ageism if rife throughout Australia too. The majority of Australian's have experienced ageism and been affected by the stereotypes of their generation, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
So what's really holding back age diversification in agencies?
Perhaps it's the belief projected by media that younger is better. That young people bring new, exciting and fresh ideas to the table.
Agency employees often move client side too after years under the rigour of agency world. But as hybrid work and flexible cultures become the rule (not the exception) there is a huge opportunity to diversify and retain employees.
Solving the issue of ageism itself won't be enough to create diverse organisations. But it is a start to bringing the 'deep-level' diversity of beliefs, personality, values and abilities. Diversifying by age, gender and ethnicity can help bring diverse values, beliefs and learning to the work place and creative work of agencies.
Changes in power structure can also help create more effective organisations. Companies such as Deloitte and Procter & Gamble have created reverse mentoring programs that act as a two-way learning opportunity between younger and older employees, shaking up formal mentoring process into a mutually beneficial activity, says HBR.
At the end of the day, we know that age is just a number, our misconceptions can be rewired and creativity comes from all walks of life.
We want to help see this change through and commit to finding the best talent, not talent born in the right decade. It's up to leadership and hiring managers to welcome opportunity.
This article is inspired by B&T's Changing the Ratio events.