Workers age 50 and over in the Brazilian labor market
is there ageism?
Purpose – This paper deals with the insertion of workers aged 50 years or more in the Brazilian labor market. Considering this question, the purpose of this paper is to raise evidence about the existence of ageism – prejudice against that age range. The paper identifies the characteristics of participation by workers age 50 or older in Brazil’s formal labor market. The paper also identifies whether and how the specific issues of these workers are handled in the individual employment contract, with the human resources management (HRM) policies and practices of a group of companies. Design/methodology/approach – The study applied a quantitative approach in an analysis of the older population in the Brazilian labor market (Annual Social Information Report (RAIS) database and “MEPT” survey database – 2011/2016). The RAIS data are collected annually by the Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego – MTE, coming from all establishments with or without formal employees, whether statutory (public servants) or private organizations. MEPT survey is an annual study focused on quality of the organizational environment and HRM practices (organizations participate voluntarily). A qualitative approach was applied also in a document content analysis on information about HRM policies and practices based on MEPT companies’ research evidence reports. Findings – There is evidence of ageism among private companies in Brazil with better HRM. These companies hire proportionally less old workers than the market and their HRM policies and practices scarcely handle with employees. The workers age 50 and over among the workers employed (private and mixed capital companies) have growing participation in the labor market. The profile of these workers is predominantly male, higher level education considering the market average, and working under longer lasting formal contracts comparing all workers combined. People involved in the individual hiring of workers from this age group do not even give this subject much attention. Research limitations/implications – The specific objective of verifying if and how the specific issues that workers of 50 years and older are dealing; in the individual hiring for work, encountered limitations based on the restricted character of the data presented. In particular, the information related to the best companies (MEPT) is representative only of its own group and thus is restricted to the private sector. Although this cannot be generalized, they offer support for reflections on the subject. Practical implications – This paper shows how companies with advanced HRM handle with older workers in their policies and practices. Social implications – This work points out that that the aging of workers will be a problem to be discussed by the companies HRM in the future. Originality/value – This paper identifies the need to study how companies will deal with the increasing number of older workers.