Age Discrimination in the Workplace

Age discrimination is not only widespread in the workplace, but is shot through with inconsistencies. That showed a survey of more than 2,600 managers and personnel professionals commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Six in ten managers reported being a victim of age discrimination - usually because they were turned down for a job for being too old (25 percent) or too young (23 percent). Yet more than a fifth (22 percent) admitted that they used age as a recruitment criterion. Although the survey found widespread agreement that older workers were better than younger colleagues when it came to reliability, commitment, loyalty and customer service, these qualities were not necessarily considered to be deserving of advancement. Different business sectors also differed as to what was considered old. More than half of respondents (63 percent) believed that workers between 30 and 39 had the best promotion prospects, with only 2 per cent citing 50-year-olds or above. Ten years ago 48 was considered old for a woman at work, while for men the age was 51. Not only have these ages increased, to 55 and 57 respectively but the gap between women and men is closing. During the summer, the Government announced draft regulations to outlaw job advertisements seeking “young” or “newly qualified” workers. The Department of Trade and Industry proposals will make it illegal for employers to specify age when recruiting, promoting or training staff. The Government is currently reviewing responses to the proposed regulations. Perhaps the best news in the survey is that, as the population ages, our perceptions of age are becoming more generous: we are now seen as younger for longer.
Source: Women Still Age Faster In Workplace by Alexandra Frean, The Times, October 24, 2005