Do not lose sight of an age-old problem

I found your special report on diversity (Personnel Today, 23 August) extremely interesting. However, I was disappointed to see that of all the types of diversity mentioned (ethnicity, disability, gender), age was not among them.

Even though age discrimination legislation comes into force in October 2006, most forward-thinking organisations are not likely to feel that age is an issue for them – they probably have workforces covering the entire age spectrum. But have they reviewed the less obvious facets of age discrimination, such as their recruitment policies and retirement policies? And can they justify their long-service rewards to ensure they are based on loyalty and not age?

Everyone will need to consider their own prejudices in relation to age and this will require a massive cultural shift that organisations need to start working on now. They must encourage age diversity, rather than simply preventing discriminatory practices such as the birthday card that says ‘you’re over the hill’.

Helen Goss
Partner, employment, pensions & benefits practice, Morgan Cole

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