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Best practice protocol aims to end age discrimination in recruitment

by on June 9, 2015

A new initiative has been announced here between Age UK and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) to give older people a better chance of finding work. It will take the form of a best practice protocol with the aim of ending age discrimination in recruitment.

Recruitment procedures are generally the first step towards gaining a job if one is out of the labour market and of finding new employment if one is already working; they can often be seen as a barrier for older workers. Organizations which use recruitment agencies may rely on them to follow best practice to ensure compliance with the equality legislation – but anecdotally we hear of many instances where such agencies (particularly those servicing some industries like IT) are disinclined to put forward candidates who fall outside a limited age range. So it will be interesting to see what the protocol will say and how this issue will be addressed.

According to the REC website, the new guide will:

  • explain how recruiters can help employers look beyond stereotypes and that there are no reasons for older workers to be less productive than their younger counterparts.
  • ask recruiters to designate an internal advocate for older people who can defend their skills and experience to businesses
  • cautios against potentially discriminatory language in job adverts (words like “energetic” or “vibrant” which can be interpreted as code for younger workers).
  • call on the industry to use a range of platforms to advertise jobs so that some older people who do not use social media are not excluded from opportunities.’

I couldn’t see the actual guide anywhere yet but no doubt we’ll pick it up later on. I wholly endorse the idea of looking beyond stereotypes but I wonder whether this will extend to not using so-called positive stereotypes about older workers in the publicity for the protocol… I’ll also be interested to see whether the focus is on age discrimination just against older workers or in respect of all age groups.

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