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Does your employer unknowingly discriminate against the over 50s?

It has been unlawful to discriminate against people on the grounds of age since the Equality Act 2010

Large number of people out of work in the over-50s age group begs the question of whether this age group is unknowingly being discriminated against in the job market or whether there are other reasons why this age group struggles to get back into work.

Here we look at the benefits to employers of employing people in this age group, the benefits of being an over 50s employee, and the reasons this age group may be lagging behind in the employment stakes.

As people can now work way beyond what was once considered the ‘default retirement age’ and there are now over one million workers over the age of 65, you would be forgiven for thinking that everyone over the age of 45 who wants and is able to work is doing so in a rewarding and fulfilling job; however, this is not the case. Research has shown that people in their 50s are the ones who struggle most with securing a job and the government’s own Work Programme has found that only 14% of the over-50s age group can find themselves a long-term job.

Some people in their 50s might have legitimate reasons for not working, such as health, family commitments or the fact that they have worked for many years and are now retired; however, there are others in this age group who can work but are struggling to get back into work following early retirement or redundancy. Key to getting these people into work are tackling prejudices among employers about this age group, ensuring that there are suitable roles out there for this age group, and ensuring that these roles are being actively promoted by recruiters and employers.

The benefits to employers of employing people in this age group are gaining experience, commitment and a willingness to work, while the benefits to employees are giving themselves better financial security, greater social interaction and enjoying the health benefits that are available by being in work.

There are many reasons why someone in their 50s may be struggling in the job market. These could relate to their own personal circumstances or to other issues, such as lacking skills or relevant work experience. It is therefore important to provide the over 50s with the right skills and knowledge so that they will not be unknowingly discriminated against by employers in the future.

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