PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
AGE DISCRIMINATION BLAMED AS BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR GETTING BACK INTO EMPLOYMENT
Over half of workers over 50 still describe themselves as ambitious with half planning to work beyond retirement, but large numbers have faced age discrimination and 73% say employers don't appreciate their experience, according to a survey by online site, Workingwise.
The survey, carried out before the Covid-19 outbreak, found 46% of over 350 over 50's polled said they had faced age discrimination; and 32% said they had faced age discrimination in relation to a job promotion.
Three-quarters of older workers polled said their motivation to work had changed since they started work. Although money was by far the biggest motivation, mental stimulation ranked second and making a difference third, significantly higher than, for instance, status and the social side of work.
However, only 21% said their company had any policies aimed at over 50s that they knew of. 16% said their employer had a carer policy; 8% said their employer offered mid-life MOTs/reviews; 10% said their employer had a returner programme and 27% said their employer offered upskilling for older employees in areas such as technology.
The survey also found a big appetite for flexible working, something many have been forced into during the current Coronavirus pandemic, with 32% of older workers admitting they had researched flexible working before applying for their last role and 46% did so before accepting a new job. Twenty-seven per cent asked at interview about flexible working and 22% would not have taken the job without flexible working.
But over a third of respondents - three quarters of whom were women - said they worked part-time and 42% had taken a career break and were struggling to get back to work whilst 37% sadly said their career had not really progressed since they had children.
However, in research carried out by Jobrapido, the world’s leading job search engine, respondents reported the biggest obstacle to getting a new job is their age and that the role they apply for is given to a younger candidate.
In light of an ageing workforce, with many employees choosing to work well after the age of retirement and the skills gap the country faces, Prosper spoke to one leading Black Country recruitment company following a strong call to action to the recruitment industry, HR and business owners to give better guidance to those requiring help with careers counselling, advice on CVs, interview technique and feedback after interviews.
Denise Myers, Managing Director of Murray Myers Recruitment in Dudley told Prosper, “In my experience, many candidates over 50 worry about age discrimination when looking for a new position. Statistics show that many employees feel discriminated against because of their age – so it’s of no surprise that job seekers feel this way too.
“However, at Murray Myers Recruitment we pride ourselves on embracing diversity and advocating for our candidates regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender or disability.”
So how can employers do this?.
“Your recruitment process needs to be inclusive,” said Denise, “Companies must look at a candidate’s ability to perform the job, full stop! It’s as easy as that – in every initial search that is our main priority as a recruiter of people.
“Age diversity brings a variety of experiences, expectations, styles and perspectives to the workplace – and great working relationships can be formed – I have seen this with many of our clients.
“There are many advantages to employing over 50’s, they come with a wealth of knowledge, experience, expertise and connections and they usually have a good work ethic, are loyal and have good communication skills,” said Denise.
However, Denise was surprised to learn that many employers have struggled to attract a diverse workforce. When Murray Myers’ placements were tracking well above the national average in skills, professional and management positions with a variety of clients, she knew that it would be impossible to offer the full recruitment service to those people struggling, so decided to launch a new recruitment platform, Evenfields Careers with her business partner Kareen Griffiths.
Evenfields offers employers the opportunity to showcase their vacancies with their diversity and inclusion stories threaded through the website and social media platforms which shows a greater understanding and highlights the particular challenges facing this demographic.
Denise concluded, "We are delighted to launch Evenfields and attempt to shift employers' perceptions with regard to a much more diverse workforce. Given the ageing workforce, ongoing skills shortages and the rich seam of experience and maturity `represented by the over 50s age group, it makes good business sense for employers to seek both to recruit and retain them. Yet many don't and relatively few are taking active steps to change their policies and practices regarding the recruitment, retention and retraining of older workers".