Employers wrongly believe staff know about age discrimination law

Most employers think their staff understand the age discrimination legislation that comes into force in October, but more than half say they haven’t a clue.

Old Age Thinking / New Age Thinking, published by recruitment firm Manpower, reveals that employers need to work harder to raise awareness of the age discrimination legislation in the workplace. 

While 72% of employers believe that their employees are at least ‘aware’ of the new regulations, 51% of workers claim to be totally unaware of them. 

A ban on age discrimination comes into force on 1 October, in less than three weeks’ time.
The study of more than 2,100 employers and 700 workers shows that as a result of the new legislation, 55% of workers would anticipate applying for jobs where previously they might have ruled themselves out because of their age. 

Employers expect the regulations to stimulate a wider age diversity among jobseekers – with 33% anticipating more applications from people aged 50 or over once the regulations are in force.

Mark Cahill, managing director of Manpower UK, said: “Changing demographics – the ageing population and the shrinking workforce – mean that employers must embrace diversity to be competitive. In the future people will work for longer, and the age legislation should make that easier.” 

Most large employers (82%) have already reviewed their HR practices ahead of the introduction of age legislation – some using age profile workforce audits,  changing to HR policy and recruitment advertising. 

Smaller firms are less prepared, with only 25% of employers having reviewed their HR practices.

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