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End age discrimination in employment now!

This petition had 495 supporters

Age discrimination has been described as the last bastion of prejudice. The Equality Act 2010 made it unlawful to discriminate against employees, jobseekers and trainees because of their age. This includes direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Yet we in TAEN – The Age and Employment Network hear on a daily basis from people in their fifties and sixties who are struggling to get jobs. The intentions behind the law are not apparently being achieved in practice.

In TAEN’s recent survey of fifty plus jobseekers, 83 per cent of respondents said that they believed employers saw them as “too old.”  Only one in ten of those out of work believed age discrimination legislation had helped them, as they believed employers were more reluctant to hire older people if they couldn’t force them to retire.

Other studies echo these findings. A study by Policy Exchange matched two sets of job applications from younger and older applicants for jobs as bar tenders and as personal assistants. The applications were from 25 and 51 year old older fictitious applicants with similar CVs.  The younger applicants for both sets of jobs were far more likely to be called for interviews.

Perhaps then, it is no surprise that the over 50s are consistently the age group most affected by long-term unemployment, with the latest employment statistics from the Office for National Statistics showing almost 47% of unemployed over 50s had been out of work for more than 12 months.

On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that most employers and the recruitment industry have formal commitments to equality and diversity. The miss-match between these good intentions and the outcomes reported by older jobseekers is therefore not a simple matter to explain or resolve.

Our petition calls upon the Government, employers and the recruitment industry, represented by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, to work in partnership to understand more about how far, and in what ways age discrimination occurs in the job recruitment process, what sorts of jobs and job applicants suffer most and what can be done to prevent it.

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