Older workers still being mistreated
As the nation’s economy continues to falter and unemployment remains high, the issues facing the UK’s workforce continue to affect all ages and walks of life. But new figures show that older workers are still being discriminated against on the grounds of their age, with people aged 50 or above who lose their jobs more likely to remain out of work for longer periods of time than all other age groups.
Research produced by leading think tank Policy Exchange, found 8.3 million people aged between 50 and 65 are currently in employment, yet older workers who lose their jobs still face widespread age discrimination.
At the end of 2011, 43% over-50s who were unemployed had been out of work for a year or more, compared to 26% of unemployed 18-24-year-olds and 35% of unemployed 25-49-year-olds.
The report says that a significant shift in opinions of older workers is needed to improve the support available to them. It also makes a number of recommendations including:
- Encouraging employers to hold ‘protected conversations’ with employees around retirement;
- The Youth Contract, which provides £1bn to young people out of work, should be extended to workers of all ages in a way that is targeted at those individuals furthest away from the labour market;
- Volunteering should be promoted among older workers, especially where they need to develop skills and confidence to broaden improve their chances of re-entering paid employment;
“It is not surprising that that there has been less of a focus on older workers. Youth unemployment topped the million mark recently and on the face of it older workers have fared relatively well over the past few decades,” said Matthew Tinsley, author of the report.
“However, there are now over eight million people aged 50 or over in the UK workforce. The skills and experience that older workers offer employers is vitally important to businesses and the economy as a whole. Greater levels of support must be put in place to help unemployed older workers back into the labour market, and to support individuals’ opportunities later in life.”
If you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, either as an older worker or otherwise, contact our legal team today. Together, we can make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.