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Employers care about skills before youth

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A survey carried out by the EEF (Engineering Employers' Federation) found that found that manufacturers take skills and ability to do the job, rather than age, into account when making decisions on recruitment, promotion and retention. Where age by itself was taken into account, this was usually in relation to heavy physical tasks.

Key Factors
- Companies indicated that the issues to which age will be relevant are succession planning, the need to maintain a balanced workforce and to avoid large numbers of retirements taking place at the same time.

- Many more companies offer training and promotion to staff irrespective of age, than those who say age makes a difference to these decisions. Where age is taken into account, this affects a decision where the cost of training an older worker outweighs the return to the business.

- Most employers use service to determine entitlement to a number of contractual benefits.

- Most members use length of service and skills-based criteria when selecting for redundancy. Few now use LIFO (last in first out) exclusively.

- Opinion was divided about whether there should be a fixed retirement age. Where this was supported, members considered that the current age of 65 struck a balance between allowing employers to manage their workforce and allowing staff to leave with dignity and enjoy their retirement.

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