Research shows businesses are not ready for anti-ageism law

Employers are failing to gear up for legislation that will outlaw ageism at work, a special report from the Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI) reveals.

The RCI, produced in association with Personnel Today, is a quarterly survey of UK directors’ and managers’ expectations of changes in recruitment activity and business conditions.

The research into attitudes to age among nearly 1,500 employers found that only 39 per cent had introduced age policies at work, with a further 25 per cent planning to introduce policies over the next 12 months.

But nearly 30 per cent had no clear plans, despite legislation that will make it illegal to refuse someone a job, promotion, training or benefits because of their age, which comes into force in October 2006.

The research also reveals that hundreds of bosses are unaware of the ageing nature of the workforce and the declining pool of younger talent.

One in five employers said they had no knowledge of population changes and 25 per cent claimed any such changes would have no impact on their businesses.

Shaun Tyson, professor of human resource management at Cranfield School of Management, which produced the report, said there was a sizeable minority of employers for whom ageism is not seen as an issue.

“They are making a big mistake because attitudes towards age are not just about compliance with the law, but are about the availability of high quality people in the workforce.

“Good people come in every race, gender and age,” he said.

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