- Rt Hon Maria Miller MPMinister for Women and Equalities, House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
- Mr Kevin GreenChief Executive Officer, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation
- Mr John Cridland CBEDirector General CBI
- Mr Peter CheeseChief Executive, CIPD
- Baroness Onora O'NeillChair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission
End age discrimination in employment now!
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.
- Minister for Women and Equalities, House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
Rt Hon Maria Miller MP
- Chief Executive Officer, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation
Mr Kevin Green
- Director General CBI
Mr John Cridland CBE
- Chief Executive, CIPD
Mr Peter Cheese
- Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission
Baroness Onora O'Neill
We the undersigned, are concerned that older people seeking work are regularly and predictably the victims of age discrimination in the job recruitment process.
We note that 2010 Equality Act which incorporates the 2006 Employment Equality (Age) Regulations is meant to eradicate age discrimination in employment, including in job recruitment, but we believe that this is not being effectively enforced.
We know from our own direct or indirect experience that age discrimination is commonplace in the job recruitment process. We believe that people of all ages should be judged according to their skills, qualifications, qualities, experience, attitudes and fitness to do the jobs they apply for and we note that this is the intention of the law.
We believe the equality commitments of many employers and the recruitment industry generally are not being borne out in the reality of job selection processes. We also believe that this seemingly endemic problem of age discrimination in recruitment is damaging to the UK economy, blights lives, and reduces the opportunities for people to work and earn from their early fifties onwards.
We therefore call upon the UK Government Equalities Minister to work in partnership with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, employers, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and organisations representing the interests of older workers and jobseekers to investigate the causes and forms of age discrimination in job recruitment and to take appropriate action to eradicate it effectively.
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