Letters

Last year you ran a series of articles on ageism. I wasn’t too sure it was a serious issue (never having practised it myself) but it appears that ageism is very much alive and well and being practised very successfully by HR “professionals” and recruitment agencies.

Finding myself on the job market at 54 and with 35 years’ direct HR experience from training officer to main board HR director I didn’t think I would have too much trouble finding a suitable post.

After all, I have worked as an HR director for divisions of Granada, P&O and several other blue chip companies, as well as some smaller but equally prestigious organisations. I have also run my own employment law consultancy.

Can I get even an interview? No. I have applied for 30 advertised posts in the last month. I don’t just mean as a director of HR. Because money is not as important as job satisfaction I have applied for a variety of posts.

Of the 30 applications only ten have bothered to reply, all with a terse one-liner: “Sorry you have been unsuccessful on this occasion”.

None (and this includes the so-called specialist recruitment agencies) picked up the ‘phone to discuss my application.

None bothered to invite me for interview.

Is our view as a profession so skewed to the under 30’s that we can happily reject anyone over 45? Are we so lacking in professionalism and common courtesy that we cannot be bothered to even acknowledge an application letter and CV?

Ageism is alive and well in HR. But, as the Chinese proverb says “Don’t forget to take back the basket my son, your son will need it for you”. I would of course be delighted to hear from some of my more enlightened colleagues out there…..if they exist.

Roger Brown

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