Employers failing to tackle age bias in recruitment

Employers are failing to identify and tackle age bias in recruitment processes despite not viewing ageism as a problem in their businesses. In a new report, the most common response from employers regarding older workers was that they ‘have poor IT skills’ or look ‘worn-out.’

The Centre for Ageing Better has warned that such attitudes towards older workers risk them being shut out of employment, especially as more are made redundant in the months ahead.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment among over-50s has risen by a third since 2019.

Based on the number of workers furloughed in August, the charity estimated more than 400,000 over-50s could be made redundant when the furlough scheme ends. The report found no evidence that employers use approaches specifically aimed at de-biasing the recruitment process for older workers. It also found very little evidence that employers evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives that are meant to reduce discrimination more generally.

It was reported that age should not be overlooked when employers are considering diversity and inclusion.

Many employers who participated in the research believe that their workforce is age diverse, and therefore consider age less of a priority to address in recruitment. However, many employers acknowledged that they do not currently analyse recruitment data in relation to age, so cannot be certain that bias does not exist within their recruitment processes.

It was recommended that businesses rethink their recruitment process and adapt to more inclusive recruitment techniques. Otherwise, businesses will miss out on a wealth of talent and experience if they don’t do so.

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