A new survey from workingwise.co.uk for National Older Workers Week shows widespread concerns about ageism in the recruitment process.
New research from 2,000 older workers (aged 45+) has today revealed the challenges that older workers are experiencing due to ageism in the workplace.
The report from workingwise.co.uk has uncovered that in order to be considered for employment, almost half (44%) of respondents admitted to altering their age on their CV to apply for a role, and one in three (34%) of older workers have experienced ageism in the interview process for a role.
The data found that respondents are facing challenges with finding a job after being made redundant during the pandemic. One in five (19%) of respondents were made redundant during the pandemic, of these 38% said they are still looking for a job more than a year after being made redundant, and 16% have been looking for between six and 12 months. This job search is taking its toll, with a huge 73% saying the length of time they had been looking has affected their confidence.
The research has shone a light on ageism in the workplace and uncovered that the hiring process for older workers is severely flawed. The top area where there is most perceived ageism is in the applications process, where 55% felt the applications process did not speak to their age group. This was followed by the interview process, where 34% had experienced ageism first-hand, as they were interviewed for the role.
Gillian Nissim, founder of workingwise.co.uk, said: “Our research has unveiled the blatant ageism that is alive and kicking in the recruitment of older workers. Times have changed significantly, we are living and working for longer, and our pensions are getting pushed back too – and yet the cards are stacked against older workers who are trying to get back in.”
Looking at what is important to older workers in a job today, 95% said that a good work-life balance was important, followed by 85% who said that job security was important to them. This has changed over the years, with 76% of older workers saying that they want a better work-life balance than they did when they were younger, and 57% of older workers explaining that the workplace environment is more important now than it used to be.
In terms of getting older workers back into work, 39% of older workers say that flexible working is now a deal-breaker.
Looking at the workplace today, there is a lack of support for older workers in the workplace generally, in fact, 86% said they have not been promoted in the last five years and 54% have had no access to training recently. 30% of respondents said this is because training is mainly aimed at young people in their organisation and 11% said it is because it is mostly reserved for full-time workers. Nevertheless, 85% are open to learning new skills. However, when it comes to the kind of soft skills much sought after by employers which are based on life experience, 75% felt these were not valued enough by employers.
Gillian Nissim added: “We need to support, and embrace the skills and experience of older workers in the workplace. We need to treat older workers as experienced individuals if we want to start to close the record-high 1 million jobs that we as an economy are struggling to fill. The answer is flexibility and an open mind.”
In order to let older workers into the workplace, 54% of older workers say that they need more support with the job application process due to changes over recent years. 51% of those looking for a new job would consider a job share, 85% of older workers are open to acquiring new skills. A significant 54% explained that they changed sector for their latest role.
Gillian Nissim said: “Incredible talent is waiting for us to let them back in, now it’s time to open the office door, we need age diversity in the workplace.”
Workingwise.co.uk is running a series of events during National Older Workers Week (22-26th November) where we are taking a look at best practice during the recruitment process and identifying how organisations, with the right policies and culture, can attract and retain older workers.