Half of UK employees (50%) are unaware that age discrimination will become illegal on the 1 October, research has revealed.
More than four in 10 (41%) of the 1,000 workers surveyed by the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) said they had worked somewhere where people doing the same job were managed differently depending on their age.
Almost a third (31%) said their employer had paid younger workers more than their older colleagues for doing the same role. More than a quarter (27%) also said new recruits were employed because they were a similar age to their colleagues.
Sam Mercer, director of EFA said: “As our research has confirmed, ageism is endemic in our society and rife in our workplaces. These attitudes need to be challenged so that they become as unacceptable as sexism or racism.”
“It’s down to us all as individuals to challenge our own ageist beliefs and ensure that particularly at work, we make judgements based on skills and ability rather than age,” she said.
The research also revealed that age stereotyping is rife among UK workers. The majority believed that the ideal age for a flight attendant was under 30 and 71% said the ideal age for a judge was over 40.
Mercer said the new age discriminations were just the beginning of the change in attitudes.
“We all have a lot of work to do to ensure ageism becomes a thing of the past. Now that the legislation is here, both employers and individuals need to catch up fast on what it means for them and their workplace,” she said.