Older workers facing shocking levels of discrimination at work

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

According to research from EfC member, the Centre for Ageing Better, older people are facing shocking levels of discrimination in their working lives.

The survey of 1,100 employees found that a significant number of older workers (those aged over 50) believe there are biases against them from the recruitment state - nearly half (46%) said they are afraid that their age would disadvantage them when applying for a job, and 14% think they have been turned down for jobs as a direct result of their age.

This has led to nearly one in five (18%) considering hiding their age in job applications.

However, this discrimination is not limited to those looking for a new role. Older workers reported being offered fewer opportunities for training and progression (32%), 29% don't think their workplace values older workers and 28% don't think their managers are good at managing mixed-age teams. 

Few feel able to talk with managers about future career plans (28%), adjusting their current role (e.g. moving to flexible working) (25%) or retirement (24%).

And this lack of support is causing many employees to leave work prematurely. DWP figures show that less than half of people work in the year before they reach State Pension age. Businesses that don't retain and recruit older workers could face a labour and skills shortage as experienced staff leave and there are too few younger candidates to replace them, the report warns.

Patrick Thomson, Senior Programme Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, warned that this could have a dangerous impact on businesses. "Employers risk losing their most experienced people and face labour and skills shortages," he said.

Andy Briggs, the Government's Business Champion for Older Workers and Aviva Chief Executive Officer, UK Insurance and Global Life and Health, added that the research should serve a wake-up call. "As life expectancy continues to rise, working patterns and career development will keep on changing as well," he said.

"Everybody must be supported to continually develop their skills and contribute their knowledge and experience over a much longer working life."

Source: HR Grapevine