Are older workers being forgotten?

Only two fifths of managers open to hiring large cohorts of older workers, survey finds.
February 13, 2023
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Experts warn of potential ‘long-lasting reputational damage’ from age discrimination claims, and champion use of inclusive language during recruitment.
Only two fifths (42 per cent) of managers would be ‘open’ to hiring workers aged between 50 and 64 to a large extent, a survey has found.

The data, released by the Chartered Management Institute, showed that managers were “significantly less open to hiring older workers to a large extent”, compared to three quarters (74 per cent) who were open to employing those aged 18-34 to a large extent.

The survey of 1,000 managers working in UK businesses and public services in October and November 2022 also found that managers’ willingness to hire people over 65 was even lower, with only a third (30 per cent) being open to recruit those close to state retirement age or older.

Additionally, 18 per cent said their organisation was not open to the idea of hiring from this age group at all.

Tom Mitchell, employment solicitor at Setfords, said the survey’s findings did not come as a surprise as “age claims were the most numerous discrimination claims in the employment tribunal up to March 2021”.

He advised employers to be mindful that “age-based discrimination can cost them unlimited compensation and a long-lasting reputational damage”.
The data follows an alleged government initiative to encourage the over 50s back into work with tax breaks. A report by The Times speculated that the Treasury was discussing using tax exemptions to persuade older workers to return to the labour market.

Claire McCartney, senior policy adviser at the CIPD, emphasised that older workers bring with them a wealth of skills, experience and knowledge so “employers risk missing out on these considerable benefits if they are not adopting age-inclusive practices”.

To help attract older workers, McCartney advised employers to be thoughtful about how they present job opportunities and make the language of job adverts inclusive and attractive to all ages.

When it comes to providing extra support, she said: “We know that older workers are often looking for flexible working options, so it is also helpful to outline these in job advertisements and offer the right to request flexible working from day one of employment, wherever possible.”

Alan Lewis​​​​, partner at Constantine Law, added that age discrimination issues can apply “just as much to job applicants as to employees”, with direct discrimination defined as an employee not being offered a job “because of their actual age or because what the employer perceives the age to be”.

Meanwhile, a recent study by Rest Less indicated that there were 1.6 million people over 50 out of work because of long-term sickness, which has increased 20 per cent in the three years to September 2022. In addition, it found that 59 per cent of people who were economically inactive as a result of long-term sickness were aged 50 and over.

Stuart Lewis, chief executive of Rest Less, said: “Not only is this a national health issue with thousands of people suffering silently, but it’s increasingly an economic issue too – not least because many of these people want to work in some capacity, if the right opportunities were available to them.”

Original Article from People Management.

Do you need hiring assistance for any workforce category? Contact Gareth Allison for a Recruitment review on 02920 620702.

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