Half of working Brits unaware of age legislation

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With just days to go before new anti-age discrimination regulations come into force new reserach reveals that half of working Brits aren’t even aware of the forthcoming changes.

The shocking findings of the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) also revealed that ageist attitudes are ‘alive and kicking’. When asked to identify the ‘perfect age group’ for a number of professions, only 15 per cent said ‘any age’ or ‘depends on experience’.

Other findings included that 61 per cent of people in employment have been aware of ageist behaviour happening in their workplace:

  • 31 per cent said they’d worked somewhere where an older person doing exactly the same job as a younger person was paid more because of their age.
  • 41 per cent have worked somewhere where people doing the same job were managed differently depending on their age.
  • 23 per cent had heard of a younger person in their workplace being overlooked for promotion in favour of an older person, regardless of their having more experience.
  • 27 per cent said that they'd seen someone being employed because they were of a similar age to themselves and their colleagues, to ensure a 'good team fit'.

Sam Mercer, director of The Employers Forum on Age said: “As our research has confirmed, ageism is endemic in our society and rife in our workplaces.

“These attitudes need to be challenged and outlawed so that they become as unacceptable as sexism or racism.

“This legislation will help provide protection for people who feel that they have been discriminated against on grounds of their age.

“But as we’ve seen with gender and race legislation in the past, a change in the law marks just the beginning of a long journey towards tackling social prejudices.

“It’s down to us all as individuals to challenge our own ageist beliefs and ensure that particularly at work, we make judgements based on skills and ability rather than age.”

  • To help with the new legislation, Age Positive has updated the links page on its website. There are now 70 links to organisations offering a range of services from advice and pensions to training and job search. They can be found at: http://www.agepositive.gov.uk/links.cfm?sectionid=46

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