According to a new report by the Centre for Ageing Better, over 50s who are made redundant after the end of the furlough scheme may well face age discrimination when they try to get another job.
The latest labour market figures showed that 355,000 over 50s are currently unemployed, with 31,000 having been made redundant between May and July alone. Over 360,000 over 55s were still on furlough at the end of July, prompting fears of another wave of unemployment among this group at the end of the scheme.
According to Ageing Better's previous research on recruitment, more than a third (36 per cent) of 50 to 70 year-olds said they felt at a disadvantage when applying for jobs due to their age. The Centre has also found in previous research that employers were failing to identify and tackle potential age bias in their recruitment process.
However, new figures from YouGov and Ageing Better show that employers recognise the value of employing older workers, with eight in ten (79 per cent) saying that older workers could help in knowledge and skill sharing. Over three quarters (76 per cent) agree that older workers’ experience is crucial to the success of their organisation.
To add more weight to the argument, a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that age-diverse workforces could create a more efficient, productive and profitable economy and raise gross domestic product per capita by almost 19 per cent in the next three decades.
The new guide, which has been published in conjunction with the CIPD and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, contains practical suggestions to help employers remove age-bias from their hiring process, enabling them to make the most of the skills and experience of older workers. It recommends five key actions that employers should take:
- Include age in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies
- Collect and scrutinise age data on a regular basis as part of the recruitment process
- Remove bias from job adverts
- Emphasise any employee benefits that might appeal to older workers
- Structure the interview process to reduce bias, for instance by using multiple decision-makers and pre-defined questions
- Build awareness and confidence among staff about how best to reduce discrimination in the interview process.