The report revealed that age-related prejudice remains an issue in UK companies, with just over a third of the workers polled admitting to having suffered age discrimination in the past 12 months.
When asked how acceptable they would find a suitably qualified 70-year-old boss, while most respondents were accepting, three times as many considered working under a 70-year-old as ‘unacceptable’ as compared to having a 30-year-old boss.
Dr Dianne Bown-Wilson, chief executive of In My Prime, specialists in age diversity and the mature market, has pointed out that older employees often posses certain skills that the younger generation lack.
She said: “Due to their pre-technological education, older people in general tend to have better written and spoken communication skills than their younger colleagues and may also be more numerate.”
Her comments come after research by global insurance firm Aviva revealed that 86 per cent of retirees believe that they could do a better job than some of today’s younger workers.
“Older people also tend to have better developed customer service skills,” Dr Bown Wilson added.
“All of these attributes tend to result from their experience of life and work, which results in a certain resilience and adaptability which younger people may not, as yet, have acquired.”
However, the DWP findings suggest that employers also need to concentrate on younger workers when tackling age discrimination in the workplace.
The research revealed that age-related prejudice was actually more common among younger workers, with under-25s at least twice as likely to have experienced discrimination than older age groups.
The findings suggest that attitudes towards staff over the age of 70 are more positive than towards workers in their 20s, with older staff being viewed as friendlier, more competent and having higher moral standards than employees in the younger age group.