Over 50s say that employers aren’t doing enough to recruit them, new study shows

By Andrea Piacquadio

By Shafi Musaddique, The Independent /

Almost a third of people in their 50s say that they feel employers aren’t doing enough to recruit them, a major new study reveals.

Capita Resourcing questioned over 1,000 people over the age of 55 about attitudes towards the aging workforce and 73 per cent said that they think employers aren’t doing enough to tap into their knowledge and skills. The study found that 94 per cent of businesses believe that older professionals could provide the key to bridging the skills gap, but only 23 per cent said that they are actively seeking to employ people over the age of 50.

The report found a majority of over 55s feared young people attracted favouritism from employers, 17 per cent of which said they had been overlooked for promotion specifically because of their age. Although a majority said that they generally felt respected at work, close to one third said that they felt side-lined.

Chris Merrick, director at Capita Resourcing, said ignoring the UK’s older population was “leading to a huge missed opportunity”.

“The UK’s older working population is set to increase rapidly in the coming years, whilst at the same time the number of skilled school-leavers will continue to struggle to fill employment gaps. Yet with eyes focused on technology and innovation, few businesses have older workers on their agenda, leading to a huge missed opportunity,” he said.

“It’s time for a recalibration of what it means to be an older worker – these employees want to be challenged, not side-lined.”

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate both directly and indirectly by treating applications favourably due to differences in age. Age discrimination in the UK, covered by the 2010 Equality Act, specifically states a person cannot be treated differently due to his or her age. Implicit bias, on the other hand, may not always be proven by the law.