Academics slam ‘ageist’ Sunday Times top firm list

The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For list – described by the government as a “key benchmark” for other employers to work towards – is ageist, according to academic research.

The newspaper’s coveted list, unveiled over the weekend with WL Gore winning for the third year in a row, all but ignores age diversity, said researchers from Lancaster University Management School.

Their analysis of the 2005 list reveals that, on average, 56% of employees working for ‘best companies’ are under 35, while only 6% are over 55.

This compares with only 36% of the general working population being under 35 and 15% over 55.

The focus on “fun” staff benefits perpetuates this bias, said Sharon Bolton, director of the MA in HR and knowledge management programme at Lancaster.

She said the government should point out that the ‘best companies’ are missing out on some of the best the UK labour market has to offer.

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