Ageism still widespread despite looming legislation

One
in five employers admits to having discriminated against potential employees
because of their age.

Recruitment
company MGM International surveyed 50 senior managers and HR directors from a
range of sectors and found that 22 per cent admitted to having discriminated
against a candidate because of age. In the retail sector the figure is 41 per
cent.

The
survey also reveals widespread ignorance about the European age discrimination
legislation, which is due in the UK in 2006.

Just
under half of those questioned (47 per cent) were unaware of the new laws.
However HR managers were more on the ball, with more than three-quarters (78
per cent) having at least some knowledge about the legal situation.

MGM
decided to look into business attitudes to employee age as it regularly
receives headhunting briefs stating that candidates must be below the age of
45. 

MGM
chairman Mike Sheard said: “Although most of the responses are what you would
expect and most managers seem to make decisions based on the candidate’s experience
and skills, there are still some surprising opinions out there.

"One
respondent questioned the ability of someone over 50 to work in a stressful
role, another said over-50s were too old for management roles.

“Considering
we are getting older as a nation and will have to work harder and longer to
realise a decent pension, we have to start challenging these perceptions
now.  By 2006 we won’t have a choice,”
he said.

By Quentin Reade

Comments are closed.