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Call for Companies to Beef Up Age Discrimination Training


Organisations still have a long way to go to eliminate age discrimination at work and become fully compliant with the recent UK legislation, according to the latest Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI) from Cranfield School of Management.

While most organisations (89%) claim to have introduced or changed their policies and practices to comply with the legislation, which came into effect on October 1, almost a quarter (24%) still do not have an age discrimination policy and only just over half (54%) provide training to managers with regard to age discrimination.

In addition, more than one in seven (16 %) of the responding HR managers admitted to being aware of current discriminatory policies and practices within their organisation, and over a quarter (28%) could not confirm that their Board or senior management were fully committed to eliminating age discrimination at work.

The results also show that stereotypical attitudes towards both older and younger workers are prevalent.

Older workers were seen by respondents as being less likely to grasp new technology and less able to accept new ideas, as well as having better time keeping, being more likely to think before they act and being more loyal, conscientious, reliable and dependable.

Younger workers were seen as enthusiastic and ambitious but also inexperienced, more likely to take time off sick, and less likely to stay in the job long.

Commenting on the findings Dr Emma Parry, Research Fellow at Cranfield School of Management, said: "These results give particular cause for concern as the respondents are HR managers, who should be responsible for championing the elimination of age discrimination within organisations. The results also demonstrate that the creation of policies regarding age discrimination is not enough. Training and education programmes are needed in order to address these attitudes and the discrimination that is commonly associated with them."

The latest RCI findings also show that:

  • 32 % of respondents had experienced some form of discrimination themselves, with 24% having being discriminated against for being too young.

  • Age discrimination is perceived as being most likely to occur in recruitment and selection.

  • Only a fifth (21%) of respondents had a desire to work beyond normal retirement age.

  • The attitude of the Board/CEO and senior management were seen as potential barriers in the elimination of age discrimination at work.

  • Access to wider skills and experience, a more flexible workforce and reduced recruitment difficulties were seen as the main benefits of a workforce that includes people of all ages.


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