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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Ageism: Your experiences
BBC News Online readers share their experiences of ageism at work and their thoughts on the government's proposals.

Your comments:

Working in the USA a few years ago, i was involvent in interviewing staff, and noticed that the applications and the CVs i saw had no date of birth on them. on inquiring why, i was told it was an anti-discriminatory measure, designed to avoid ageism and give everyone the same chance. seems like a nice idea to me.
mike, uk

At the age of 48 I am considered too old for many of the jobs I apply for.
Elaine, UK

Employee made me retire at 65 from company, then has re-employed me through a Agency. Loss of Medical Insurance, reduction in Wages and loss of other Company benefits
N. Bigg, Scotland

Long overdue! After being made redundant, but with high qualifications, at 49 years old, I can't even get to the interview stage.
RD, UK

At the age of 48 I am considered too old for many of the jobs I apply for. With age comes patience, experience and you can "teach an old dog new tricks". Lots of employers will accept older people in to lower paid jobs but do not feel that they should be given training or any prospects for furthering their career. At the age of 48 I do not feel too old - my body might complain but my mind is still as active as ever.

I have employed several people over 55 and they are jewels in the crown
Chander Hingorani, U.K

I like working with an age spectrum from teenagers to older people because they all bring a different perspective to their jobs. At the moment the company I work for insists that you retire at 60 but some people wish to work after that age. If this bill goes through it will ensure that if people do wish to carry on working they can do so....
Elaine , UK

I'm in my 40s, and thinking about doing a postgraduate course next year to improve my prospects, so I welcome this.
Miland Joshi, UK

This may on the face of it look like an altruistic proposal by the Government. However, whilst it may look like an attempt to counter ageism in employment, the motivation behind it seems more like a ploy to deflect criticism away from the current pensions crisis. Its been known for years that people are healthier and living longer, so why only do something about it now?
Howard McCann, UK

In principle, these measures are great... but I wonder how long the list of exceptions will have to be. For example, now that I'm 40, I've always regretted not joining the RAF. Will these proposals mean I can apply for fighter pilot training? If not, will I have recourse to the European Court of Human Rights?
Chris A, UK

You cannot match the experience, maturity or loyality of older employees. I would prefer to employ someone aged 57 and get 7/8 years of service from him/her rather than employ someone 25 and get 3/4 years of service.I have employed several people over 55 and they are jewels in the crown.
Chander Hingorani, U.K.

Banning ageism: good thing. Do it to gloss over longer working lives because someone can't manage national pensions: bad thing.
David Harrison, UK

I am 45 years old and am an IT contractor, I have had experience of age discrimination since I turned 40. I do not put my age on my CV, but occasionally agencies will ask my date of birth and when I tell them their tone usually changes and I am not put forward for the job they are advertising, even though I must have more experience than other applicants. I feel this affects women more than men as I know a couple of male IT contractors and they do not seem to have the same problems. I think the proposals will help, but as I am a contracter I do not seem to be covered by a lot of employment law. I find I am asked questions at interviews that would not be asked of a permanent interviewee. Regards Wendy McCormick
Wendy McCormick, England

I don't think that this has anything to do with discrimination, it's to do with the fact that the pension provisions in the future will be so poor, that everyone will have to keep working to 70 and beyond just to survive. So the government have made the way clear to allow this to happen through employment law.
Graham Fox, England

As I person with only seven years to go to the present retiring age I would welcome this change. However the government will make the whole procedure so complicated that it wouldn't work. On the plus side for the government is that they can create new quangos and another department to interpret and enforce the new laws.
Philip Ross, England

Its about time I am 41 and have noticed that I am too old for some jobs already .What chance does a 50/60 year old have? If you travel to the states they employ staff of a much wider age range. I think we are missing out on the skill set of the older generation.
Christos Christodoulou, england

This isn't about ageism at all, its about the government trying to make up the massive shortfall in people's pensions by making people work longer
David, UK

This move is long overdue. Age discrimination has been outlawed in the USA for decades. the ageing of the population means that employers must realise that encouraging an open and positive attitude to employing older workers is not only morally right but economically vital.
Stuart Walls, UK

I work in the United States where it is illegal to ask someone their age and all CVs have no mention of age, maritial status, religion etc. However, I don't see companies in my neck of the woods hiring "mature" candidates even when they have a wealth of technical and managerial experience. The sad fact is that during an interview you can guess the age of the person and discriminate against them if they appear to be old with and the candidate has little recourse to the law (some excuse can always be made up about why a younger candidate is better). If the UK government is serious about more equal employment opportunities for more mature workers then this has to be backed up by thougher legislation than is currently proposed. Personally I feel that older people have many valuable contributions to make to the workplace and that 60 or 65 is a totally artificial age at which to stop someone working. Satnam, 37 years old!
Satnam Singh, San Jose, California, USA

My experience of age discrimination comes from the other side of the coin. As a younger member of staff, despite equal position and years of service, I get paid significantly less than older members of staff (in their 40's/50's) the excuse my employer gives me is that they are older therefore have more financial obligations. I trust the govenment will ensure parity at this end of the scale too.
Paul, UK

My Dad is being forced out of employment on reaching 60. For most people it's not that they want to work past 60 it's that they need to and I think the government, which is a main employer and itself practises age discrimination, should recognise this and give people a choice, especially as the pension schemes have been so severly affected over the last few years. This legislation is way overdue.
Helen, United Kingdom

This isn't about ageism at all, its about the government trying to make up the massive shortfall in people's pensions by making people work longer so that they pay into the national purse for longer! All the Government has done here is dress up their attempt to rectify their economic miss-management by making it look like they are doing something for the older generation!
David, England

This legislation is long-overdue! Why should someone be forced to retire at 65 when they may still have many more years of active working life. In fact there are probably millions of "pensioners" who are still working well into their 70's in this country..... cleaners, shop assistants, school crossing wardens, employees in small factories etc. .... the "boy" who delivers my weekend newspaper is 81! And there is a major reason why such "oldies" can find employment (unlike some of their younger rivals) ....THEY'RE RELIABLE!
Norman Day, U.K.

I feel that this will not address the problem of being too old to do a job at 40+, it will mean that older people and students will be doing all the unsociable hours that are difficult to staff, whilst the rest of us could still be discriminated against in the workplace. I speak as a 46 year old teacher who is only 3 years into my career, but will probably lose out at some time to a younger person, if only for the reason that they will be cheaper to employ. I think this is a way of taking the pressure off the government and its funding of pensions, and mean that they will not have to address the problems of shortfalls in mortgage payments. I do hope however that as these older workers will presumably contribute tax and national insurance that the ageism within the Health Service will also disappear.
Carys Austin, England

The government proposals cannot possibly work to the benefit of present or future job seekers. I live and work in France where there is considerable protection from economic redundancy for the over 50's and more for over 55's. The result of the 'protection' is that, in spite of a common retirement age of 60, employers who fear future redundancy situations are reluctant to take the risk of recruiting people approaching 50 for fear that their eventual early dismissal will be expensive. No amount of legislation regarding job advertising can ever influence the decision of the hiring company regarding which candidate to select, before or after interview. Reasons for choice of candidate do not need to be given and can rarely be challenged unless an illegal expression of discrimination was made, or a company policy can be demonstrated.
Jerry CAVILL, France




SEE ALSO:
Age discrimination to be outlawed
02 Jul 03  |  Business
Q&A: Age discrimination at work
02 Jul 03  |  Business


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