Focus on ageing inequalitites at work, says report

A new report says anti-ageism policies should focus more on addressing ageing inequalities at work.

elder care


Anti-age discrimination policies are failing to help those who need help, according to new research from the University of Sheffield.

The study says anti-discrimination policies are not being implemented properly and calls for urgent changes and a focus on age inequalities in the workplace.

It emphasises that older workers continue to be treated as a single standardised group and says that policies previously targeted at supporting older workers have been replaced or extended with policies for workers of all ages.

The report suggests that poor health in later life has a direct correlation with lower academic attainment, low income, manual work and poorer working conditions. Therefore, it says, policies focused on tackling inequalities in older workers should be aimed at preventing work-related ill-health that starts as soon as an individual’s working life begins.

Professor Alan Walker, Co-Director of the University’s Healthy Lifespan Institute, said: “A life-course approach to improving equality for older workers would lead to health benefits. Many health problems associated with older age (both physical and mental) can be prevented or better managed with the implementation of improved health management earlier in the life-course.”

Dr Rachel Crossdale, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Sociological Studies, added: “The introduction of ‘returnerships’ and increase in Mid-Life MOTs in the Chancellor’s Budget acknowledges the need for targeted opportunities to encourage older people back into the workforce, however there is continued failure to recognise the cumulative longer-term inequalities that led to their exit in the first place.”

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that it has discovered that, despite the push to get more older workers back to work, the average age of Treasury staff is just 33.6, with less than 10% of its staff being over 50 although they make up 32% of the UK workforce. The Treasury says it has a blind initial recruitment process, but the BBC says that its Freedom of Information request shows older people are less likely to get jobs once past this stage. It says that, on average over the past five years, 17% of over-50s who got interviews at the Treasury got a job offer, compared to 20% for people in their thirties and 22% for under-30s. Older people were significantly less likely to apply in the first place.


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