Bayes’ Business Management students tackle ageism in the workplace

Undergraduate students working contribute towards Bayes’ commitment to change ‘more than a name’.

Bayes Business School undergraduate students have been focusing on bridging the generational divide and addressing the issue of ageism in the workplace.

A total of 625 students in 125 groups from the BSc in Business Management undergraduate degree were tasked with analysing issues of ageism in different industries on their core course Introduction to Management. The industries of media, banking, consultancy, IT, entrepreneurship, fashion, and the NHS were among those explored at a time when many people from Generation Z those born between 1997 and 2012 – are entering the workforce for the first time.

In their chosen field, the students addressed any issues relating to diversity and inclusion practices and focused on any incidents of ageism in the areas of its hiring, training, performance management, layoffs, and interpersonal treatment. The students analysed different company review sites which are currently top resources for job seekers – these included Indeed, Glassdoor, Kununu, The Muse, Seek and Great Place to Work.

Final presentations proposed solutions to bridge the generational gap, with the undergraduate students successfully finding and proposing new ways to build more diverse and tolerant workforces. More effective ways of working included offering strategies and actions to encourage better communication and more effective co-operation between employees of different generations.

For example, students established a ‘blind-assessment’ system in the entrepreneurship industry, where age is not considered by investors, and making sure promotions and rewards are awarded based on professional merit rather than on age.

In management consultancy, the students removed discriminatory language – such as ‘new grads’ or ‘young’ from job application descriptions and avoided age-related interview questions. They also created an environment where there is a strong support system in place, allowing workers to confidentially report any experience of ageism.

Students investigating the airline industries prevented the inclusion of maximum age limits in hiring processes and changed ageist advertisements slogans into more inclusive messages that would put less pressure on older flight attendants to look younger.

Dr Joanna Zaleska, module leader, said: “Students were given the task of exploring issues of ageism, in particular how it relates to discrimination against both the old and the young. This included Gen Z who are beginning to enter the workforce and interact with their older bosses, who may be from the Millennial or Baby Boomer generation.

“It is important to prepare them for potential issues of discrimination and underrepresentation in the workforce. It is significant for me as a teacher of such soft disciplines as organisational behaviour and human resource management to workinpartnership with students to address these sensitive issues.”

Bayes has committed to addressing issues surrounding inequality and opportunity, particularly around race and ethnicity, as part of its commitment to change more than a name. The School has established a Diversity and Inclusion Council to embed ethical and socially responsible values into the curriculum and recently appointed Professor Lilian de Menezes as its first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion..

To learn more about the Business Management undergraduate degree at Bayes Business School, visit the website.

Read more about Bayes Business School’s name change.

Since the launch of the EDI strategy in early 2020, City’s focus has expanded beyond gender inequalities, and recognises the importance of taking an anti-racist and intersectional approach to tackling organisational and educational inequalities that honour the nuanced differences of ethnic and intersectional diversity of our student and staff bodies. Since the summer of 2020, City has started moving away from thinking of equality, diversity and inclusion work as an ‘add-on’ consideration and focused on it becoming a strategic priority that is embedded throughout the University.


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