Survey finds widespread fear of age bias in employment

A new survey suggests many older workers fear bias in the recruitment process and in learning and development opportunities.

age bias, ageism at a workplace


More than two thirds (68 per cent) of over-55s feel that the jobs market is closed to them, despite one in four wanting to work into their 80s, according to a new poll.

The research, based on a survey of 257 workers and retirees aged between 55-75 and 202 employers, also found that a quarter (24 per cent) of over-55s felt forced to retire before they wanted to. When it comes to applying for roles, 60 per cent believe that it is difficult to apply for a job in their chosen career.

The survey, commissioned by membership organisation 55/Redefined and ProAge, a UK charity for age diversity in the workplace, found that almost two thirds (64 per cent) of those currently employed are not getting leadership training and a third have lost interest in their job due to lack of development opportunities.

It also found that only 24 per cent of HR leaders aged 25-30 were ‘very’ willing or motivated to recruit workers aged 55–75 in contrast to the 63 per cent of older HR leaders aged 46-50.

Lyndsey Simpson, founder and CEO at 55/Redefined, said: “Our research reveals that over 55s want to work and progress, but feel shut out, forced out or overlooked when it comes to their later life careers…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.”

She added: “By 2050, the under-55 working-age population will have shrunk by around 20 per cent in Western countries. Pair this with the impact of the pandemic which is disproportionately and adversely affecting older individuals, and we’ve got a serious shortfall in the workforce. The population of over 60s in the same timeframe will grow by 40 per cent, so forward-thinking firms that tackle ageism and capitalise on the value of older workers now, will be the winners.”

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