Ageism in the Workplace Laid Bare

New research adds to the growing evidence of ageism currently being experienced by older workers

A study by 55/Redefined showed more than two-thirds of over 55s feel the job market is closed to them – yet a quarter is very willing to work into their 80s. But crucially a quarter of over 55s felt forced to retire before they really wanted to. 60 percent find it difficult to apply for a job in their chosen career and worryingly many of those still in jobs are not getting leadership training and the lack of development opportunities means they are turned off in terms of motivation. But the starkest finding is about ageism in HR – only 24 percent of HR leaders aged 25-30 were ‘very’ willing or motivated to recruit workers aged 55–75, in contrast to nearly two-thirds of older HR leaders aged 46-50.

This echoes Wise Age’s own experience of the London labour market. New work starting by Wise Age will be lobbying policymakers, employers to promote the benefits of an age-friendly workplace and challenge ageism. Despite the rhetoric of equality in employment, the difficulties faced by older workers are still chronic as research shows.

The ‘Shut out, forced out and overlooked’ study examines the level of ageism experienced among the older workforce. For currently employed over-55s, almost two-thirds (64 percent) are not getting leadership training, and a third have lost interest in their job due to lack of development opportunities.

As well as discrimination within roles, older workers face an even greater challenge in recruitment, particularly from younger HR leaders.