It’s OK to encourage older job applicants

Daniel Isaac may be premature in declaring that age-targeted recruitment (such as Sainsbury’s recently announced initiative) will become illegal once age discrimination legislation comes into force next year (Personnel Today, 24 May).

It seems to me that under other existing discrimination strands, employers can take positive action by specifying that they would welcome applications from a particular under-represented group in their current workforce, while not expressly excluding applications from others as well.

As people over 50 now qualify as under-represented as far as many employers’ workforces are concerned, it may well prove possible to adopt a similar approach to ‘welcoming applications from older jobseekers’ to rectify the overall age profile of their employees.

Of course, any employer adopting this approach would have to be ready to justify it.

Hopefully, we will have more clarity on this and other issues (such as long-service pay, non-pay benefits and occupational pensions) once the draft age regulations are released for consultation in July.

Keith Frost
Business manager
Third Age Employment Network

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