People aged 50 or above who lose their jobs are more likely to remain out of work for longer periods of time than all other age groups. Research produced by leading think tank Policy Exchange also found that older workers are still being discriminated against on the grounds of their age.
The report — Too Much to Lose: Understanding and Supporting Britain’s Older Workers — found that there are currently 8.3 million people aged between 50 and 65 in employment. Making up over a quarter of the entire UK workforce, the valuable contribution that older workers make is often ignored.
The research found that while the number of people working past the age of 50 has significantly increased over the past two decades, older workers who lose their jobs find it a lot more difficult to get back into work than other age groups. At the end of 2011, 189,000 over-50s who were unemployed (43%) had been out of work for a year or more. This compared to 26% of 18-24 unemployed year olds and 35% of 25-49 unemployed year olds.
Age discrimination is still one of the main challenges facing older workers trying to find a job. As part of the research into employer attitudes towards older workers, Policy Exchange applied for over 1,200 bar jobs and personal assistant positions as a 51 year old and a 25 year old. The responses to the, otherwise identical, applications showed a huge bias against the older worker. The 25 year old received nearly 125% more positive responses to the bar job than the 51 year old and 45% more positive responses to the personal assistant position.
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