An aging population, coupled with low employment rates among Americans older than 62, poses severe challenges to the long-term sustainability of Social Security. Numerous reforms have been proposed to extend their working lives, including raising the retirement age. Such reforms may be unlikely to gain traction -- not because people are so eager to retire, but because age discrimination sharply limits job opportunities. After decades of debate, most labor economists today accept that discrimination has played a role in limiting job market opportunities for minorities and women. There's been a steady buildup of evidence that is hard to refute.
"I grew up insecure about my name," says Rawan Mohamed, a British-Muslim of Sudanese heritage. She says the best way she found to manage it was to change it. The 22-year-old from Manchester, who has just graduated from Leeds University, says the success of her job applications more than doubled since she changed her name to Rowan as a teenager. "I think it confuses people," she says. "Interviewers usually think I'm mixed-race or Irish and don't expect to see a young black girl walk through the door."
Companies speak with job seekers at a job fair in Pittsburgh. Companies speak with job seekers at a job fair in Pittsburgh. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act turns 50 this year -- about the age when many American workers begin to encounter the kinds of biases the law was intended to prevent. At this "milestone of middle age," quipped Victoria Lipnic, acting chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law is grappling with new forms of age discrimination in the Internet era. Research by EEOC, which received 20,857 claims of age discrimination last year, found that 65% of older workers say age is a barrier to getting a job.
Working women in some ethnic groups in the UK have not only narrowed the gender pay gap but have overtaken men's earning power, analysis suggests. The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for equality, said Caribbean and white Irish working women, on average, earn more than men from the same background. Its report found that, for most ethnic groups, men earned more than women. It used hourly pay data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covering full-time employees in the UK. The gender pay gap, or the average difference in hourly pay between men and women, currently stands at 13.9% for full-time workers, according to the ONS.
I'm Paul Thornton, The Times' letters editor, and it is Saturday, April 30, 2016. Two hundred and twenty seven years ago today, George Washington became the first president of the United States. We've come a long way, right? Speaking of presidents, regular readers of this newsletter probably expect to find in this space an introduction to an opinion piece on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or some other character from the protracted presidential primary. But this week, I've decided to spare faithful subscribers a lengthy excerpt on the even lengthier campaign in favor of commentary on a topic sure to perk up your Saturday morning: the daunting prospects faced by older women looking for a job.