There is a demographic time bomb ticking under our economies, yet ageist stereotypes continue to blight the workplaces. These have led to a huge wastage of skills and loss to the economy as those aged between 45 and 65 are marginalised from the workforce.
As people get into their mid 40s, their labour market prospects rapidly decline in the face of both blatant and more subtle forms of discrimination. Many 50-year-old professionals know that hard work won't bring any more promotions. Vacancies get filled by a younger staff member before older workers even know about it. A new boss makes life so miserable for the 50-year-old secretary he inherits that she resigns.
In the UK, 14 per cent of UK workers feel they have been discriminated against because of their age – a figure which represents 3,878,000 people. And while legislation making it illegal to discriminate against people in the workplace on the grounds of age will be introduced in 2006, it is currently legal under UK law for employers to sack people on the grounds of their age.
What is your experience of ageism in the workplace – and what can, or should, be done to combat it?