Is Age Discrimination Still a Problem in Recruitment?

Workplace diversity is a particularly hot topic at the moment, especially since mandatory pay gap reporting for larger organisations was put in place by the government. However, gender discrimination isn’t the only issue under discussion in the recruitment world.

Despite figures from the Chartered Management Institute which reveal that around 1.9 million highly skilled, well trained managers in key leadership positions will be needed by 2024, age discrimination still appears to be occurring in recruitment.

A report, ‘Older People and Employment’, published by the Women and Equalities Commission found that over 1 million people aged 50-64 have ambitions to get into the workplace but their potential is not being recognised by UK employers.

According to the report, unconscious bias, prejudice, casual ageism and other forms of age discrimination could be to blame. The authors of the research also criticise the government for not doing enough to stamp down and enforce the law on age discrimination in UK workplaces and recruitment practices.

People over 50 make up around 30% of the UK’s total workforce, so why are they being left out of the picture?

Is the digital age to blame?

One plausible reason why we could be approaching a crisis in employment rates for over-50s is that organisations are increasingly look to future-proof and don’t believe that more seasoned candidates have the digital skills required.

Patterns start to emerge where businesses focus on recruiting younger talent in the hope that they can boost innovation and appeal to younger audiences. This focus on creating ‘millennial-friendly’ workplaces could be pushing older workers out, even though many have – or could have with some training – the skills and aptitude to provide real value to businesses.

How your organisation can tackle age discrimination

According to the Chartered Management Institute, organisations wanting to future-proof their operations and eliminate age discrimination from recruitment will need to focus on training. Petra Wilton from the CMI told FE News:

“We already see some businesses investing in re-skilling and up-skilling older workers through apprenticeships, such as management and leadership apprenticeships. Such approaches should be championed and employers encouraged to see apprenticeships as a valuable way to support older workers in the workplace.”

Organisations should also be taking a close look at what older workers can bring to the business, such as decades of experience and a wealthy of specialist knowledge. You should never underestimate what diversity of experience and thought can bring to an organisation. There are other benefits to hiring older employees too, as the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey found when comparing how likely younger workers are to switch jobs and companies more often than their older counterparts.

There are also ways to reduce the chances of discrimination taking place during the recruitment process itself. For example, implementing blind recruitment practices were identifiable details such as ages, names and gender is omitted from applications. This ensures that all applicants are assessed fairly, without unintentional bias colouring any decisions.

Adria Solutions works closely with organisations to find exceptional talent in all of its forms, regardless of age or other characteristics that don’t relate to skills, experience, aptitude and attitude. Please get in touch to find out how we could transform your recruitment processes.