Ageism in the workplace hasn’t gone away. In fact, older workers were more likely to be made redundant during the pandemic. Once redundant, they were less likely to be re-employed than younger workers, according to The Centre for Ageing Better. Despite legislation, older job seekers can experience bias.
How hiring managers can mitigate bias
- Keep date of birth data separate from your job application forms
- Focus on experience and ability rather than age
- Provide practical feedback to help candidates returning to the workplace
- Stay away from jargon in your job ads
- Don’t make the application process time-consuming
- Focus on creating diverse interview panels
Ensure staff are aware of bias
It’s important to recognise that many stereotypes about older people do exist and to be aware of how they may influence decision-making. Everyone involved in the recruitment process should recognise and know the consequences of ageism in order to build a truly inclusive company culture. Many companies find that specific training in this area is useful and is becoming more widely accessible.
Provide job flexibility
As we’ve outlined, older job seekers have caring and healthcare needs, which can preclude them from full-time work. So, employers should expect requests for flexibility and always follow a Code of Practice for handling flexible working requests.
Many employers have already updated their practices on flexibility in the workplace following the pandemic. It is now a top priority of jobseekers across the age spectrum as the majority seek to rebalance work with family life.