When asked how motivated they are to hire 55-75 year-olds, less than a quarter (24%) of HR leaders aged 25-30 said “very”, alluding to prevalent workplace ageism.
This compares to 63 percent of respondents aged 46-50.
This reflects a 39 percent swing in the inclination to recruit older workers based on their own age, according to the research by 55/Redefined and ProAge.
Despite workers in their 20s being twice as likely to take sick leave than their older colleagues 37 percent of employers cited health or illness as a major concern to recruiting those from the 55-75 age bracket.
Also, a fifth (21 per cent) of employers cited ‘lack of energy’ as a disadvantage to hiring over-55s.
In fact, 65 per cent of 55-75 year olds think the job market is closed to them and nearly a quarter (24%) felt forced to retire before they wanted to.
However, 56 percent of employees want to continue working beyond the age of 65 and 90 percent believe they have the transferable skills to change industry or job.
Workplace ageism: DE&I is being overlooked
Separate research by HR DataHub – an organisation that provides technology powered HR insights and guidance to employers – also suggests that age as a diversity and inclusion (D&I) characteristic is being overlooked by HR departments.
HR DataHub discovered that, according to its Outlook 2022 report, only 9 percent or fewer than one in 10 (9%) senior HR, D&I, reward and people professionals – including 12 FTSE100 – disclose data on age externally and more than two-thirds (67%) said they have no intention to report on it in future.
“It’s clear that age discrimination is being perpetuated by those in control of HR policy and standards. This could perhaps be an unintended consequence of an imbalance in focus on other protected diversity and inclusion characteristics. HR leaders and CEOs must address this issue urgently, realising the talent and ambitions of older people – bringing age bias in the workplace to an end,” says Founder and CEO at 55/Redefined, Lyndsey Simpson.
Alluding to what can be done to change this, Ms Simpson adds: “Knowledge is power, particularly when it comes to understanding your workforce. As our working age population shrinks and our population of over-60s rises, age should be top of the agenda. At a time when we are all living and working longer, it is in all our interests to stamp out this unfair and unacceptable discrimination.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.