Sales representatives, who have an average age of just 30, top the league table of occupations believed to be most at risk from age discrimination, research shows.
Six in 10 of the 10,000 HR directors and managers surveyed by HR consultancy Croner voted for sales staff, with 50% believing they are at risk.
People whose jobs involve face-to-face customer interaction emerged as being by far the most at risk of age discrimination, with these roles representing three of the top four in the survey.
Waiting staff came in third, with customer service staff appearing in fourth, nominated by nearly 30%.
The public sector fares much better, with teachers thought to be at risk of age discrimination by only 13% and nurses by even less at one in 10.
Richard Smith, employment services director at Croner, said: “It’s not exactly surprising that jobs considered to be most at risk from age discrimination are those traditionally associated with physical appearance and exertion.
“This is a reflection of our society which links youthfulness to energy, attractiveness – and sometimes even ability.
“But attitudes towards more mature people are changing. This combined with today’s longer life expectancy means we now have a new ‘older generation’ who have just as much to offer society as they ever did. This needs to be recognised in the workplace.”