Public sector gets to grips with anti-ageism policies

Public sector employers are ahead of the game when it comes to implementing
anti-ageist policies, a new survey claims.

The research, carried out for social care recruiter, Celsian, questioned
almost 400 social care workers in the public sector, accountants and lawyers in
professional practice and sales professionals in commerce and industry – all
under the age of 35.

The survey found that almost two-thirds of social care workers felt their
general promotional prospects were equal to those of a colleague aged over 35,
and less than half felt their career would be adversely affected if they found
themselves on the jobs market over the age of 40.

By contrast, in the private sector, more than 80 per cent of accountants and
lawyers rated their prospects as better than those of a colleague over the age
of 35, and almost three-quarters felt they would be over-the-hill if they found
themselves back in the jobs market at 40.

A European Union directive requires all 15 EU member states to introduce
legislation prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination at work on the
grounds of age by 2006.

Juliet Marsh, director of social care at Celsian, said she welcomed the idea
of legislation.

"As recruiters, we have to supply what our clients ask for.
Unfortunately, the criteria sometimes includes youth. When this is legislated
against, it will make our job easier," she said.

The report found that most respondents in both the public and private arena
supported the introduction of anti-ageism legislation.

More than 70 per cent of social care professionals said they would also like
to see mature staff being actively encouraged to pursue further training and
qualifications. Almost 80 per cent said they would welcome the abolition of the
retirement age.

By Quentin Reade

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