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It’s time to talk ageism at work

After the gender pay gap and outrage about lack of diversity and unfair male and female staff ratios, particularly at senior level, another unspoken employment issue is lurking in workplaces across the country. 

In a year that has seen Madonna turn sixty, the world now views fifty as the new forty, sixty as the new fifty and so on.

Yet when it comes to recruitment and the talent shortage, does everyone feel that’s true?

Deborah O’Sullivan, Managing Director at flexible recruitment agency Ten2Two, says, “In the work place, many recruiters and hiring managers unconsciously revert to a default position of looking for a 30 year old white male working full time.  It’s considered a ‘safe’ option and easy to administer.

But there are so many benefits to hiring someone outside this mould, particularly someone older. The question is, why don’t more recruiters do it?”

Ageism at work: a question of a state of mind

Think about it. If you hire an older worker, you’re getting someone with bags of life and work experience. Their attitude is also likely to be spot on, as an older worker values their workplace in a way they may not have done when they were starting out – remember your first role?

Wasn’t it just a stepping stone to the next big promotion as you scaled the pay grades and sought out fresh challenges at every turn?

As we get older, we often want different things from the workplace. But that doesn’t mean we feel any different than we did twenty years ago.

Deborah adds, “You may one day be ten years’ older. It’s going to happen. But while you may not look the same, you will feel the same – passionate and keen to work but with the addition of a bunch of hard-earned skills and experience behind you”

Time to tackle myths around older workers

Just imagine telling Chris Evans he isn’t in the prime of his life! From running marathons to taking on massive new challenges, fifty hasn’t stopped the polymath from slowing down. There’s also a movement for the menopause to be more widely supported in the workplace. Older workers are becoming more visible, but in terms of the recruitment process, they’re still unfortunately up against it.”

Here at flexible recruitment agency Ten2Two, we’re expecting ageism to be the next big bias to be overcome where recruitment is concerned.

2 min read