The main goal of this paper is to test whether older Hungarian women face age discrimination in the job market. The theoretical framework of this paper measures the level of discrimination and highlights that age discrimination leads to a waste of human resources.
Two pairs of fictitious CVs were created; each pair included a younger (34 years old) and an older woman (60 years old) with an age difference of 26 years. One pair was designed for office assistant positions, the other for economic analyst positions. The contents of the CVs with photos were entirely fabricated except for active email addresses and phone numbers to allow responses to be tracked. LinkedIn accounts were also created for the analysts. Applications were sent over a four-month period from November 2019. The rate of invitation to interviews was analysed with mathematical statistical methods and a small probability model.
The younger job seekers were invited to interviews about 2.2 times more often than the older ones. Based on the authors’ probability model, employers evaluate the skills of older applicants at only 45–67% of their actual skills.
The experiment had to be stopped due to the Covid-19 lockdown as there were no new job postings.
The experiment demonstrates that age discrimination exists in Hungary. In addition to traditional audit job applications through HR portals, we used LinkedIn too. The small probability model applies an old framework in a new environment.