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Age Discrimination Continues to Hold Older Workers Back

Understanding Older Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Older workers perceive age discrimination at rates that are much higher than in the past. In fact, current data shows that 78% of older workers say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, the highest level since AARP began tracking this question in 2003. It comes as no surprise, then, that 96% of older workers agree that laws to combat age discrimination should be stronger.  

Older workers are continuing to learn new skills. They are also interested in future training, particularly at the behest of an employer, even in the midst of a pandemic. Clearly, employers can play a major role in maintaining a skilled workforce. Older workers are interested in those skills that are in-demand, including technology, computer skills, professional skills, and licensing. 

Forthcoming analysis will include a deeper look at reskilling among African American/Black older workers and Hispanic/Latino older workers.


AARP fielded a survey to 1,322 Americans ages 40–65 who were in the workforce or recently exited the workforce as a result of COVID-19. The sample included oversamples of Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black older workers. The survey covered topics related to job actions they've recently taken, experiences with unemployment, reskilling, working from home during the pandemic, and age discrimination.  ​

For more information, please contact Rebecca Perron at For media inquiries, please contact

Suggested citation:

Perron, Rebecca. Understanding Older Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Washington, DC: AARP Research, May 2021.

Older Workers

The Value of Experience

About three in five older workers (61%) have either seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

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