Over-50s campaign could signal end of golden age

Sainsbury’s has been warned that a new over-50s recruitment drive which launches next month will be illegal next year.

The supermarket chain, which reported a sharp slide in profits last week, said school leavers ‘need not apply’ for its 10,000 new vacancies, which span HR and customer service roles, as well as jobs on the bakery, delicatessen and butcher’s counters.

The campaign to boost numbers of older workers was applauded by Help The Aged and Age Concern, but lawyers pointed out that such an initiative will be illegal next October, when new age discrimination legislation is introduced.

Daniel Isaac, principal in the employment department at Withers, said: “Many employers are still unaware that specifically targeting older workers for recruitment purposes will become unlawful under age discrimination rules.

“The proposed new protection for older people is well known and endorsed. However, it is often overlooked that the government is also proposing to protect young people from discrimination.”

“This is a one-off campaign we have launched in response to customer feedback,” a Sainsbury’s spokeswoman told Personnel Today.

Under the plan, the ‘mature’ candidates will be able to work part-time or even just during school terms so they can be free to spend school holidays with their children or grandchildren.

Sainsbury’s HR manager, Jane Basley, said: “We have found that people in this age range bring a wealth of experience and maturity to their work, and their focus on customer service will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the shopping experience and help to drive sales in our stores.”

The recruitment campaign begins in June.


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