Lawsuit alleges company’s college campus recruiting is ageist

Employers looking for potential hires on college campuses has been a common practice for years and an effective recruitment tactic. However, one group of people is not very happy about it: The 40-and-over working crowd.

The Wall Street Journal reported on a lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers by a group of older male workers. The suit alleges that by recruiting at colleges, the company has hired a disproportionate amount of younger workers in the tax and assurance units of the company, which has, therefore, hurt the plaintiffs.

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PwC is being accused of being in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) as they are placing more value on youth. It is also alleged that they are being offered more part-time and seasonal positions.

Only 3% of candidates hired were over 40

PwC’s attorney, Emily Nicklin of Kirkland & Ellis, says the company’s hiring decisions have “nothing to do with age,” and are only based on merit. She also said that applicants in the older age group are not being directed towards part-time or seasonal work.

However, official documents submitted to the court revealed that in a statistical analysis of more than 100,000 candidates for PwC, showed that 18% of the applicants who were under 40 were hired to its tax and assurance business, and only 3% of candidates over that age were hired. But according to WSJ’s Kelsey Gee, the plaintiffs may have a hard time winning as there is hardly any precedent for this type of case.

Companies view younger candidates as more flexible and tech savvy

Employers leaning towards younger, fresh talent is not exactly breaking news as ageism is one of the most common forms of workplace discrimination and companies have even been accused of excluding older people from job ads.

Though some older candidates have considerable experience, they can be considered less flexible than recent college grads and not as adept at learning new office technology practices. A recent study also found that nearly half of those already working in the tech industry fear getting the ax because of their advancing age.

And it’s not like these younger workers are going anywhere, as millennials (ages 18 to 34) are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers in population by 2019 and they already makes up the largest segment of the workforce.