Preconceptions of older workers changing

2006

British attitudes to older workers are gradually changing, although ageism in the workplace still remains an issue, according to a new survey.

The study by recruitment firm Office Angels of 1,600 employers has found more than a third – 38 per cent – believe attitudes to older workers are slowly changing.

Employers are becoming more inclined to look favourably on experienced workers than in past decades, rather than assuming anyone over 50 is simply coasting to retirement.

Two thirds of those polled said relevant skills and a positive attitude were more important factors than age when deciding to offer someone a job.

And nearly two out of 10 businesses said they offered age-related incentives, such as such as part-time working, to encourage more experienced staff to continue into their later years.

Paul Jacobs, managing director of Office Angels, said: "Homogeneity doesn't equal harmony at work.

"The most successful business managers recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce – where a variety of skills, personalities and perspectives, regardless of age, combine to create a productive and happy working environment," he added.

But he warned that ageism still remained an issue in the workplace and needed to be addressed.

"The key for anyone employing new staff is to look at the skills needed for a role and to hire the best person to fill that gap, regardless of age – great recruitment really is as simple as that," he said.