Graduates want flexible approach to retiring age

More than half of all graduates believe employees should be allowed to
choose when they retire, according to a new report from the Employers Forum on
Age and the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

In the survey of 600 recent graduates, 54 per cent support the abolition of
mandatory retirement even though 33 per cent think this could hinder their
opportunities in the job market.

The DTI has suggested that mandatory retirement could be abolished in the UK
in 2006 as part of European legislation outlawing age discrimination.

The survey, Graduating to Age Legislation, commissioned by the DTI as part
of its consultation on the proposed age legislation, also highlights
conflicting views on the legitimacy of recruiting staff on the basis of age.

More than 70 per cent of graduates agree that fashion stores catering for
teenagers should be allowed to advertise for staff in a specific age to help
advise customers, but only 37 per cent believe this approach should apply to
staff selling products to the over-50s.

Sam Mercer, campaign director at the EFA, said the survey reveals the
challenges the Government faces in trying to introduce workable legislation in
the area of age discrimination.

"Our findings reveal real confusion among graduates when questioned
about what should and should not be allowed. This illustrates not only the
difficulties Government faces in trying to implement workable legislation, but
also the difficulties that business will have in implementing cultural change
in the workplace," she said.

The survey also reveals that eight in 10 graduates believe age should have
no bearing on promotion, half think employers shouldn’t refuse training on the
basis of age and three in five oppose maximum ages for graduate recruitment

By Ross Wigham

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