Older jobseekers face significant ageism
Older jobseekers face higher levels of prejudice when it comes to finding work, according to research by Anglia Ruskin University.
Researchers created two fictitious applicants; a 28-year-old white British male and a 50-year-old white British male, and sent out 894 pairs of applications to firms advertising for a variety of vacancies.
To counteract any stereotypes, the researchers ensured that additional information about applicants contained physical hobbies (such as cycling and mountain biking) and interests that demonstrated mental flexibility (learning foreign languages and working with computers).
However, the older applicant was 21.9% less likely to be invited for interview, when compared to the younger jobseeker, across a number of sectors in the white-collar, pink-collar and blue-collar fields – Herald Scotland reports.
Dr Nick Drydakis, Reader in Economics at Anglia Ruskin University, comments: “Our results suggest that ageism plays a significant role in the UK labour market.
“We find that older people must apply to more vacancies than the young to obtain an interview. Furthermore, older workers are invited to interview for lower-paid jobs, potentially affecting their standard of living.
“Our data was collected after the Equality Act 2010 was enacted. That we still find compelling evidence of ageism suggests that legislation has not been sufficient to eliminate age discrimination.
“In this study, because we have controlled for the older applicants’ mental and physical capacities, simple prejudice against people aged over 50 is likely to be the reason for ageism.”
These findings correlate with totaljobs research, which found that almost two-thirds (63%) of 55- to 64-year-olds have felt discriminated against by a prospective employer because of their age.
They also found that only six per cent of 55- to 64-year-olds view their age as an advantage when applying for jobs, whereas 82% see it as a disadvantage.
John Salt, Group Sales Director at totaljobs, gave us some advice to help recruiters avoid age discrimination: “Recruiters can tackle any age bias, whether conscious or unconscious, from the very first conversations with their clients. Highlight the multiple benefits of considering candidates from all ages and backgrounds; a wider talent pool to choose from, the chance to bring a deeper range of experience into the organisation, and the creation of a diverse workplace culture.
“Brand benefits are clear too, as clients will be known as equal opportunities employers. In essence, age discrimination gets in the way of a client’s ability to recruit the talent they need, and recruiters are in the perfect position to point this out.”
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