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Bosses act to end ageism at work

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Despite legislation being three years away, UK employers are beginning to take ageism in the workplace seriously, a recent survey has found.

Results from ‘This Age in the Workplace’, carried out by Cranfield School of Management on behalf of Age Positive, the DWP’s campaign to promote age diversity in employment, show that employers are already introducing policies to tackle ageism.

Almost a third of employers already have a policy in place and a further 38% say they will introduce policies in the future. Two-thirds of people surveyed believe their Board or senior managers are committed to eliminating ageism.

The survey also found that:

  • 67% are already aware that the Government will introduce legislation outlawing ageism in the workplace by October 2006

  • 57% of those surveyed confirmed that they avoid using age limits and age-related words in job advertisements

  • 55% do not use age as a basis for redundancy

  • 62% of organisations base training purely on skills needs.

Malcolm Wicks, Age Positive Minister said: “Employers can only benefit from age positive policies. The survey shows that older workers bring experience and reliability to the workplace. Younger workers bring enthusiasm and a willingness to try new ideas. Having both helps increase morale, improve productivity and reduce costs. The need to end ageism at work is becoming more urgent.”

Shaun Tyson Professor of Human Resources at Cranfield commented: “Whilst considerable progress has evidently been made, developing a policy on age discrimination is just the first step. Changing attitudes will take time. Employers who have not yet acted should do so quickly to remove any deep-seated prejudice about age.”

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