Ageism rife in workplace

Employers in the north of England claim age discrimination is still rife in the workplace, even though two-thirds of them have signed up to the DfEE’s ageism code of practice.

Results from a survey of 6,000 large, medium and small organisations show 61 per cent of companies have adopted the code of practice, but 55 per cent of those questioned believe ageism is still widespread in the workplace.

Nearly all respondents believe there are benefits to be gained through employing a diverse workforce. And of those questioned, 59 per cent indicated that a mix of old and young staff creates a good team atmosphere.

Coutts Consultants, which commissioned the survey, claimed employing a mixed age-range workforce will lead to an improvement in morale.

It said the experience of older staff will balance the enthusiasm and ideas of younger workers and lead to effective team working.

Respondents represented a range of employers, with 7 per cent from organisations with less than 100 staff, 30 per cent from organisations with 101-250 staff and 63 per cent from organisations with more than 250.

Breakdowns of figures revealed that the North West employs the most people between 35 and 44 but the region also employs the smallest number of young and old staff.

According to the results, the North East employs roughly the same number of people in the 25-34 and 35-44 age brackets and has slightly fewer older and younger people in its workforce.

Peter Barton, managing partner at employee research consultancy People at Work, said companies stand to benefit from employing older staff.

He said, “Companies in the retail sector have claimed they benefit from employing older staff. They found older staff give good commitment, are good timekeepers and are good at handling customers.”

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By Richard Staines

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