EFA launches amnesty to tackle ageist job adverts

The Employers Forum on Age (EFA) is launching a job advertisement amnesty,
encouraging people to send in examples of ageist recruitment ads.

The EFA says despite the Government’s launch of a voluntary code four years
ago, it is still easy to find ageist adverts.

Through the amnesty, the EFA wants to make more employers aware that
specifying ages or using age-related language in their recruitment advertising
can constitute age discrimination.

To fulfil European legal requirements, the Government must put legislation
in place banning age discrimination in employment by December 2006.

In May, the EFA found adverts such as: ‘traditional secretarial support… age
30s’; or ‘Young, funky and ambitious? So is this agency…’; while others
informed applicants of a ‘salary relevant to age and experience’.

Sam Mercer, director of the EFA, said: "Employers really need to focus
on ability, not age. Too many ads aren’t thought through. Employers may not
realise they are putting off ideal candidates by sending out the message that
they only want a person of a specific age.

"Simply removing an age range from an advert will not protect employers
from future age discrimination laws," she added. "Ageist language may
also be considered unlawful, and going by the adverts we see today, many
recruiters will have a serious problem in three years’ time."

The Government will launch its second consultation on the legislation at the
end of the month.

The EFA plans to use the information gathered from the amnesty to gauge the
extent of ageist adverts, and will report its findings to the Government as
part of the consultation process.

By Quentin Reade

The EFA’s top 10 watch-words in job ads

When looking for ‘young candidates’, employers often use words
such as:

– Lively

– Ambitious

– Bright

– Upbeat

– Funky

When looking for an ‘older candidate’, they often use words
such as:

– Mature

– Dependable

– Responsible

– Reliable

– Experience-driven

How to make your job ads age

The EFA’s guidelines for employers state you should:

– Focus on skills and competencies, not personal details

– Avoid words that can be misconstrued, such as ‘mature’ or

– Make sure you can justify the amount of experience you ask

– Check any images used – do they show age diversity or are
they only going to appeal to a specific age group?

– Review advertising media and location regularly to ensure you
are reaching a wide range of potential applicants


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