Sparrow’s Nest: Ageism – Take a stand, join Advertising Ageist Action Group

Sparrow's Nest

‘As an industry, we are obsessed with youth and want to hire digital natives’

Regular readers will know I have been banging on about Ageismfor a while. Lately, there has definitely been more talk about the issue. October 7th was Ageism Awareness Day and of course, that is positive, I have recently taken a pledge with EveryAGECounts.

We stand for a world without ageism where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged. We commit to speak out and take action to ensure older people can participate on equal terms with others in all aspects of life.

Please check out their website and make a pledge at:

New research conducted by Redbridge quoted in The Australian last week highlights stats that ageism is worse for those in their 50s (26%) and 60s (37%) who have been personally affected by ageism, especially at work or when applying for a job.

As mentioned previously, less than 5% of people in advertising locally/globally are over 50. As an industry, we are obsessed with youth and want to hire digital natives. Recent articles in Forbes magazine cover various facets of the issue, one important area is how to combat ageism during a job search.

I personally experienced this when I left WPP – I had impeccable credentials for a client-side role as their media practitioner and was highly recommended for this role. They checked out my LinkedIn profile but never actually contacted me for an interview.

Being a bit surprised I did not even get an interview I was informed off the record they thought I was too experienced. I took that as an ageist perspective.

On a positive note, another article in Forbes highlights the fact that older entrepreneurs outperform younger founders. A 50-year-old founder is twice as likely to build a thriving enterprise that has either an IPO or successful acquisition as a 30-year-old founder. We need more stories like that to shatter that entrepreneur’s success decreases with age, it does not … hallelujah!

Sparrow was inducted into the MFA Hall of Fame last week. What a legend!

Last Thursday night at the MFA Awards on stage I raised this vital industry issue again and committed to working with the MFA DE&I committee to make positive changes in the next 12 months. Unprompted several people have already reached out as a result and I am calling upon interested activists and Mediaweek readers to email me at [email protected] and join a new Advertising Ageist Action Group … AAAG.

We are open to a very broad group of any age. I genuinely want diversity of thought to solve this problem from any age group and background. The purpose of this new Advertising Ageist Action Group is not to go around and around in circles discussing the issue but to find practical solutions we can implement to ensure real change. Let us start simple and not overcomplicate the process with a long-complicated manifesto or charter.

We need simple real Action, what are three simple actions we can implement now and tomorrow in the workplace to make a difference in our ageist advertising industry? I want you to hold me accountable as the founder and whoever else joins us. Our industry needs to change and I need action-orientated people to join the AAAG movement.

Less talk more Action! The AAAG wants YOU – contact me NOW.

[email protected]

Read more Sparrow’s Nest columns here.

In addition to Sparrow’s Nest, Mediaweek contributing editor Greg Graham also compiles the monthly Agency Hot List. Don’t miss the October edition of the Hot List published recently.
The legendary Sydney diner can also be found filing the Birdman in the Bistro column monthly in Mediaweek.

Greg encourages Sparrow’s Nest reader feedback and topic ideas. Contact the Birdman via [email protected].

See also: Greg Graham is inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2022 MFA Awards


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