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Ageism Rife in UK Workplaces


Age discrimination is widespread in the UK and many workers hold unrealistic perceptions about their own career prospects, according to research by the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

A survey of 2682 managers and personnel professionals found that 60% felt they have been personally disadvantaged at work because of their age and nearly a quarter of those surveyed admitted that age has an impact on their own recruitment decisions.

The research also revealed that almost half had suffered age discrimination through job applications while 39% believed their chances of promotion were hindered by age discrimination. This claim is backed up by individual perceptions of age where over half (63%) of respondents believed that workers between the ages of 30-39 years old had the best promotion prospects, with only 2% citing 50 year-olds or above.

A majority, (80%) reported that they are hanging on to the expectation that they will personally retire by the age of 65, despite believing that the age of retirement for the average person in 10 years' time will be 66 or older.

Dianah Worman, Diversity Adviser at the CIPD said: "Our research shows that most managers expect everyone to be retiring later within 10 years - except themselves. There is a growing acceptance that the average worker is going to stay at work beyond 65. But no-one seems to think it applies to them."

Two-thirds of respondents said they anticipated working part time towards the end of their working life and a quarter claimed that the ability to work reduced hours would be a key factor influencing their retirement. However, the CIPD said that only a third of organisations offer part-time working to older employees, while only a quarter offer career advice to older workers.

Petra Cook, Head of Public Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute said: "Looking at the changing demographics, approximately 80% of the workforce is already in employment. As such, organisations will need to focus on upskilling and reskilling their current workforce. This is reflected by the finding that the need to retain skills is the key driver of retirement policy.

"The days of a single, linear career are over and employees must take some responsibility for creating new opportunities and challenges in their later working lives," she added. "But, in order for this to happen, organisations will have to adapt to ensure that older workers are treated as an asset and offered flexibility."


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