A year after age discrimination was outlawed in the workplace, one in five job advertisements still fails to comply with the rules, according to law firm DWF.
In a survey of 200 ads, DWF found 21% were potentially ageist, while 27% could be viewed as containing some form of discriminatory wording, whether on the grounds of age, sex or disability.
According to the survey, the retail sector was the worst offender, with 37% of ads containing some form of discrimination, compared to 26% in the leisure sector and 16% in finance.
Kirsty Rogers, partner at DWF, said: “One of the biggest problems was that 12% of all ads specified a minimum level of experience, which could rule out younger people who might be equally capable of carrying out the role.”
An additional problem, particularly in the leisure and retail sectors, was that some employers asked for candidates who are ‘lively’, ‘energetic’, ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘dynamic’. Such terms could all be viewed as discriminating against older people or those with disabilities, Rogers said.
The situation has improved since 2005, when age discrimination rules were first proposed and when a similar survey by DWF found that half of all job ads contained some type of discrimination.
However, Rogers warned: “While progress has been made, it is clear that some organisations are still posting potentially discriminatory ads, particularly on the grounds of age. Sloppy wording is leaving employers open to tribunal claims.”