A phenomenological case study to describe the ageism-induced anxiety of job seekers aged 50–83.


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Age discrimination is a significant issue facing the workforce today. Many older job seekers find themselves in a predicament as they experience ageism-induced anxiety while seeking new employment. This phenomenological case study investigated the anxiety experienced by job seekers aged 50–83 during the job search process, thereby informing the hiring decision-makers of the lived experiences of job seekers aged 50–83 as they seek new employment. This study is important because age discrimination runs rampant throughout the recruitment process. Age discrimination is on the rise as the baby boomers age out of the workplace (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). Ageism adversely affects older job candidates as they pursue new job prospects (Veldon, 2013). Job seekers aged 50–83 explained feeling disheartened, overwhelmed, defenseless, dejected, self-doubting, economically insecure, emotional, physically-ill, lost, depressed, hopeless, defeated, despondent, rejected, and desperate. These job-seeker emotions were consistent across race, employment industries, ethnicities, sex, social classes, sexual orientation, age groups, education levels, employment levels, geographical regions, job search durations, income levels, and similar categories. The phenomenological case study was the best qualitative research design to gather information about the cumulative and growing life experiences of oppressed and vulnerable job seekers aged 50–83. A diverse set of participants’ responses based on structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interview questions supported the research. The researcher asked questions that solicited detailed descriptions from each participant. A thorough literature review identified relevant information from prior case studies. This study leveraged purposive criteria-based sampling and snowball sampling to collect data, make changes as needed, and deepen the study of the cases. The researcher collected data via one-on-one video interviews, online questionnaires, video focus groups, telephone follow-up calls, and email follow-ups as needed. The data collection protocols utilized interviews, document reviews, and artifacts, including job search boards, job search aggregators, and company career search websites.



Ageism. Lived experiences. Ageism-induced anxiety. Age discrimination. Older workers. Unfair recruiting practices. Discrimination. Age bias. Age prejudice. Job search. Depression unemployed. ADEA. Lay-off. Outplacement. Diversity. Bias. Unfair hiring practices. Aging workforce. Too old for the workforce.