A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … jobseekers used to include their birthdate, gender, marital status and sometimes even their religion on a resume. It’s almost automatic for many to still include their date of birth on their resume together with their name and other contact details. When the Age Discrimination Act 2004 was passed to prevent age discrimination at work and when applying for a job, there’s been no requirement whatsoever to include this detail.

Never, ever, ever include your date of birth on your résumé.

Firstly, it’s no one’s business.

Secondly, whether we like it or not, despite the fact that it’s illegal, age discrimination DOES occur in the job market, so that’s another reason not to include it. Age discrimination in the job market can work both ways though. You can be seen as too old, or too young.

Yes, it’s illegal to discriminate based on age, but it happens. Don’t give the reader of your résumé an opportunity to make unfounded judgements about you based on your age. Focus on the value you bring to an employer, and your results (not the number of years of experience), remove graduation year dates from your qualifications (unless you are a new Grad or have a strategic reason to leave them in) and don’t use an email address that includes numbers that could be interpreted as your year of birth.

Age discrimination policies usually focus on jobseekers and workers above 50 years old since most reported complaints come from this group.

According to a study conducted by National Seniors Australia, age discrimination in the form of exclusion during the job search process has been experienced by 36% of job seekers. Additionally, ManpowerGroup Solutions conducted a poll among 4500 global job seekers and found out that 37% of Australians agreed to preconceptions that age held them back form getting a job. This result is quite higher compared to 34% of respondents in the UK and 26% in the United States.

Age Discrimination Act 2004 aims to protect workers, jobseekers, and previous employees from the following situations:

  • refused employment
  • dismissed
  • denied a promotion, transfer or other employment-related benefits
  • given less favourable terms or conditions of employment
  • denied equal access to training opportunities
  • selected for redundancy
  • harassed

In an ideal world, policies against age discrimination would make jobseekers openly state their date of birth in resumes and feel free to talk about their age and family status at interviews since the law should make them feel protected from being stereotyped. Sadly, it is not the case. In reality, ageism is still rampant even though age discrimination laws are already implemented.

(updated 2021)

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