UK employers unprepared for age discrimination legislation

More than eight in 10 UK employers are unprepared for new age discrimination legislation – scheduled for 2006 – according to research from management consultancy, Hay Group.

In addition to the potential cost of tribunals and compensation, employers are also missing out on the talents of the 1 million economically inactive older people who could contribute an additional £30bn to the annual economic output, the research shows.

Few UK companies have adopted age positive policies and just 6 per cent have assessed their business for age discrimination. This is despite the fact that nearly 40 per cent of people of working age believe their age has worked against them.

Hay Group consultant, Georgina Churchlow, said: “Ageism is the next and the biggest battleground for equal employment rights because it affects us all. The Pension Commission’s latest suggestions about postponing retirement in order to plug the pensions gap have put longer working lives at the top of the business agenda, but ageism in the workplace is about more than the silver ceiling.”

“More than a third of employees, both old and young, feel their age has worked against them,” Churchlow added. “Employers must act now to create age neutral employment practices, avoid costly public exposure and legal action, and most importantly, make the most of this untapped workforce.”

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