Managers less likely to hire over-50s

A Chartered Management Institute survey finds employers are more reluctant to hire older workers.

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Employers are significantly less open to hiring older workers than bringing in younger talent, according to a survey by the Chartered Management Institute.

The survey of more than 1,000 managers found that three quarters (74%) are open to hiring younger workers between the ages of 18 and 34 to a large extent. But that number drops to just four out of 10 (42%) of managers who signalled they would be open to hiring people aged between 50 and 64 to a large extent. For those aged between 34 and 49, slightly more than six out of 10 were open to hiring them.

For those over 65, the number drops even further, with only three in 10 being open to a large extent to hiring those close to state retirement age or older and one in five said their organisation was not open to the idea of hiring those over 65 at all.

The reluctance to take on older workers runs across large and smaller employers, says the CMI which adds that the findings reflect an ongoing ‘say do gap’ in UK workplaces, with firms saying one thing when it comes to being an inclusive workplace, but doing another in practice, despite ongoing challenges in filling vacancies across the workforce.

A quarter of managers surveyed said their employer needs to improve working conditions to accommodate older workers, including offering flexible working options and one in five said their organisation needed to improve the investment in support such as suitable health care and targeted training. Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, told the BBC the CBI wants to create “pathways” for people to return to work for those who are on universal credit or have been unable to work due to sickness, but he added that most employers ‘secretly’ want to get all their workers back to the office.

Meanwhile, Rest Less has issued a release linked to recent ONS statistics on economic inactivity, pulling out the figures on ill health. It says the number of economically inactive people aged over 50 who are out of work due to long-term sickness has increased by 20% in the past three years. Nevertheless, economic inactivity in over 50s has been falling in recent months and Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis suggested many older workers have left employment for other reasons during Covid and have then become unwell.

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