Research by FiftyOn, the work-life balance website for people over the age of fifty, has found ageism to be a significant problem, especially in larger companies.
Nearly half of the 2000 respondents had experienced discrimination, and 66% of these said they had been driven out of their job as a result. Meanwhile three-quarters claimed to have been turned down for a job simply because they were thought to be too old.
The research shows that ageism is a bigger problem in large organisations. Sixty-seven percent of incidents took place in companies employing more than 500 workers.
According to FiftyOn, twenty-something managers are the worst offenders. Executives in their twenties were responsible for 64% of incidents compared to 30% by bosses in their thirties.
"This survey confirms our worst fears," said John Gordon-Saker, chief executive of FiftyOn. "British companies are already suffering from a lack of experience and soon, due to the drop in birth rate, there will not be enough young recruits to fill vacancies."
He praised companies like Asda and Carphone Warehouse for welcoming applications from older workers.
He added: "Most CEOs need to investigate their own recruitment practices now as the majority of HR departments seem merely to pay lip service to the ageism debate without understanding the impact that the ageing demographic will have on their bottom line."