Age discrimination in the labour market : fact or fiction?

Lok Sang HO, Xiangdong WEI, Jan Piaw, Thomas VOON

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Using data from three surveys on the labour market in Hong Kong, this paper shows that older workers and job seekers are disadvantaged in the labour market. They tend to face a longer spell of unemployment; receive fewer job offers; and gain lower wage increases than younger workers. In addition, they are less likely to be promoted and selected for training and are more likely to be dismissed than younger workers. However, while all this is true there is evidence that the apparent discriminatory practices are mostly economically motivated and have a sound rationale behind them. Anti-discrimination laws may not achieve the purpose they are intended to serve. What is needed to improve the job opportunities of older workers is greater freedom to design different compensation packages for different age groups and thus flexibility in the labour market. There is a role for governments to play in this regard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Employment Relations Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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