Forty-one per cent of employees between the ages of 55-59 believe age discrimination against older workers is a problem in their place of work, according to a recent survey. This is in spite of there being a record 10 million employees over 50 in the current UK workforce, with the number expected to grow to more than a third of all UK workers within the next decade.
The report, which was conducted by Aviva, found a fifth of workers believed the younger generations were favoured in their place of employment, while the same number of respondents felt their age was a barrier which stopped them from developing and progressing.
Additionally, the survey questioned more than 1,000 UK employers, discovering just 19 per cent of businesses admitted that age discrimination was a serious problem, but 20 per cent were concerned about their abilities to implement age-friendly practices.
The report said employers that failed to eliminate age discrimination could potentially face a “brain drain” of experienced workers unless they tried harder to ensure older employees feel valued.
It found that 73 per cent of employees in their 50s and 60s felt they shared invaluable expertise and knowledge with their colleagues and yet, 16 per cent said their employer did not value this transfer of skills.
Despite feeling neglected by their employer, the study showed nearly half (49 per cent) of workers aged 60-64 did not feel ready to retire, which increased to 61 per cent for those aged over 65. Aviva found that those who are still working at the age of 65 are more likely to be motivated to continue working than those in their forties and fifties because they enjoy their job, or for social interaction with other colleagues.
Director of evidence at the Centre for Ageing Better, Claire Turner, concluded:
“It’s really positive that many people in their fifties and sixties want to carry on working. [However] this report reinforces that too many people still face age discrimination and feel their employers don’t value their contribution.”
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