Marks & Spencer ahead of the game

A mandatory retirement age stops service firms attracting talent, says
personnel director of Marks and Spencer Helena Feltham.

"We are looking for the best people and an age barrier is a restriction
on that," Feltham said.

M&S has recently scrapped retirement ages. Staff who reach 65 can now
negotiate with their managers whether or not they stay on at work.

Feltham said the firm was responding to demands from the business and
changes in social attitudes. "Legislation is on the way and we want to be
ahead of the game," she said.

Scrapping the retirement age would not harm productivity, Feltham said. The
firm had robust disciplinary and sickness policies to deal with underperforming
or persistently absent staff.

Earlier this year the Nationwide Building Society raised its retirement age
to 70.

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