Ageism affecting third of workers over 50 in jobs market, study finds

One in three people in their 50s and 60s feels at a disadvantage when applying for jobs, showing that ageism is having a “profound” effect on older workers, according to a new report.

The Centre for Ageing Better said the issue is leaving some older workers trapped in insecure employment, unable to find suitable jobs, or forced into early retirement.

With the number of 50 to 64-year-olds out of work increasing by 175,000 since the start of the coronavirus crisis, ageism in recruitment could be the final straw which prevents many returning to work, said the report.

Almost one in five older workers said they have experienced ageism, having been turned down for a job because of their age, and nearly a third have been told they are unlikely to be successful due to having too much experience, said the report.

People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to report recent age-based discrimination than those from white backgrounds, the research suggested.

Patrick Thomson, senior programme manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “These stark findings show just how accepted, widespread, and damaging ageism in the recruitment process can be.

“This goes far beyond being turned down for any one role.

“It has real impacts on people’s health, wellbeing and livelihoods. It leads to people losing confidence, retiring early, or being stuck in insecure work.”

“Workers in their 50s, 60s and beyond have a vast array of skills, know-how and experience – but are all too often shut out by narrow views of their age.

“Our report outlines steps employers can take to make sure they’re getting the best person for the job, regardless of age. This will be vital in the months ahead as employers try to recover from the economic downturn.”

The research was carried out by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Demos among more than 500 people over the age of 50.

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