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When young graduates are victims of “ageism” in business

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Estelle had her first bad experience at the age of 21, during a work-study year in a publishing house. As soon as he arrives, his internship supervisor shows him around the offices. They end up in the marketing division, exclusively made up of women. “They watch me, giggle and comment: ‘But itis legal?” Implied: I nI don’t haveair major, I shouldn’t be working here. » Two years follow during which Estelle, ignored by everyone, has the feeling of being transparent.

Five years later, with a master’s degree, she was hired by another publishing house. “My manager introduces me to the accounts department, where a man in his forties looks at me and answers, laughing: “Ah, I thought it was your granddaughter!”, without speaking to me, or even said hello to me. In both cases, these sentences were pronounced in a tone of fun, without addressing me directly. People allowed themselves to comment on my appearance, as if I had not been physically present in the same room”she laments.

These painful experiences made Estelle totally lose her self-confidence and encouraged her, to compensate, to work harder than the others, in order to “appear believable”. According to one survey on discrimination in employment conducted in 2021 among young workers aged 18 to 34 by the Defender of Rights and the International Labor Organization (ILO), more than one in three claim to have experienced discrimination in the context of their job search or career, compared to one in five people in the general population, with age (23%) as the second criterion of stigma just after gender (27%) . “We knew thatthere was a great awareness of young people on these issues, but the reality is even more alarming than whatone could imagine”admits the Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon, who commissioned the investigation.

“Our culture attaches great importance to respect for elders, to the point of omitting embarrassing realities. » Laelia Benoit, child psychiatrist and sociologist

The barometer confirms that nearly 90% of respondents say they have already experienced a situation of devaluation during their professional life, mainly with an underestimation of their skills, being put under pressure to always do more, and the fact of be given useless and thankless tasks. A high level of education does not make it possible to be more protected. On the contrary, even: employees with a master’s equivalence or more would be the most exposed in the professional world (40.6%).

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