CIPD attacks proposal for 'default' retirement age

Jul 03 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

One of the Government's proposals in yesterday’s consultation document, Equality and Diversity:Age Matters, to give employers the right to dismiss workers at 70, would undermine its commitment to eradicating ageism in the workplace according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Recent CIPD research shows that nine out of ten UK workers do not believe in a mandatory retirement age.

The same research shows that older workers update their skills through training as frequently as younger workers, while the vast majority of people do not believe that age affects a person’s ability to do a job contrary to the perceptions of many.

Dianah Worman, CIPD Adviser on Diversity says: "The Government needs to put in place a flexible framework which facilitates access to the talent and experience of all workers, regardless of age. However, the imposition of a default age and an age limit on retirement flies in the face of the demographic trend which shows that average age of the workforce is rising."

Worman continues, "CIPD evidence shows that the majority of workers do not believe that their organisation is doing enough encourage the employment of older workers. Government needs to put down a marker which encourages organisations to think creatively about the employment and retention of older workers by, for example, flexible or phased retirement, part-time working or job sharing.

"For their part, employers need to provide themselves and older workers with more flexibility and choice over the length of working lives in order to achieve real progress. It is in all our interests to do this."

The CIPD’sAge, Pensions and Retirement: Attitudes and Expectations survey found that two out of ten UK workers have been discouraged from applying for a job as the recruitment advert in some way communicated an age restriction.

Four out of ten feel that they have been discriminated against, with age being the number one reason for the discrimination (35 per cent of those who feel they have been discriminated against, compared with 14 per cent for gender, 26 per cent for education and background, 5 per cent for disability and 2 per cent for race).

The research also found that more than four out of ten people would like to continue working for their current employer past their mandatory retirement age – rising to half of the over 50s. Almost nine out of ten of the retired respondents did not have any form of paid employment - reflecting current retirement patterns, which see the majority of people moving from full time working into full time retirement overnight - with nothing in-between.