Staunton, Nov. 24 – Russians say that ageism – discrimination based on age – is more widespread than sexism – that based on gender – in hiring and promotion in the workplace, a new Superjob survey finds, with many feeling they are “too old” or “too young” to get fair treatment (superjob.ru/research/articles/113083/zhenschiny-chasche-muzhchin-stalkivayutsya-s-diskriminaciej-po-polu-i-semejnomu-statusu-pri-trudoustrojstve/).
A Russian journalist writing under the pseudonym Ivan Aleksandrov says that Russian law prohibits employers from using age as a criterion for employment or promotion, but that law does little to prevent bosses from using that criteria as long as they do not declare their intentions (russian.eurasianet.org/как-предрассудки-о-возрасте-подрывают-качество-жизни-россиян).
Indeed, almost half of employers – 41 percent – say that they take age into consideration in business decisions (spb.hh.ru/article/27243). And there is broader confirmation: older people are paid roughly what the youngest workers are, with pay peaking not at 60 but between 30 and 40 (wp.hse.ru/data/2018/12/10/1145005536/WP3_2018_07______.pdf).
57 percent of Russians over 50 looking for work say they can’t find it because of age (nafi.ru/upload/pressrelease/Survey_results_job%20search%20for%20older%20age%20groups.docx). Employers believe older workers are less energetic and harder to manage than younger ones (spb.hh.ru/article/27243 and russian.eurasianet.org/труд-в-россии-долгий-изматывающий-непроизводительный).
Employment is not the only sector of society where ageism is a problem, Aleksandrov says. There is widespread discrimination against older people in health care, a problem that has gotten worse because of Putin’s optimization cutbacks and the load on medical facilities because of the pandemic (asi.org.ru/news/2019/05/20/ejdzhizm-i-antiejdzhizm/).
One result is that older people have given up going to medical facilities for help because they are typically turned away. According to official figures, between 2010 and 2018, the number of visitors to medical facilities fell by 150 million. And pensioners typically can’t afford private medical care.
Aleksandrov argues that Russian laws regarding discrimination are not well developed and that those who have suffered discrimination face serious obstacles to proving it. As a result, they don’t even try. Until public attitudes change, that is likely to remain the case; and ageism will be a major feature of Russian life.