Managers and personnel officers admit to discriminating against workers on grounds of age, according to a study.
Age discrimination is still common
The Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development found 22% of those surveyed admitted to age discrimination.
That was despite 48% of respondents claiming their own job applications had been subject to similar discrimination.
Next autumn it will become a civil offence for employers to discriminate against workers on grounds of age.
The two bodies questioned 2,682 managers and personnel officers from among their members, who work in around 2,500 different organisations in both the private and public sector.
The proportion of those who felt they had suffered age discrimination rose from 48% to 59% when the survey took into account the ones who said their own chances of promotion, rather than just recruitment, had been hindered by their age.
But CMI spokeswoman Petra Cook said "it was more shocking that they used it as a factor in weighing up applicants".
Old or young?
The research found that discrimination was not always against older workers.
While 25% of managers said their job applications had suffered discrimination because they were too old, 23% said they thought it was because they were too young.
Even so, the results from this survey show some considerable improvement from a similar survey carried out 10 years ago.
Then, the proportion of managers and personnel officers who claimed to have been passed over because they were too old was much higher, at 44%.
Petra Cook said: "There has been some very good progress. But we do see quite fixed personal mind sets."
Those mind sets will need to change fast if employers are to escape the sanctions of new regulations which are scheduled to come into force in October 2006.
DTI secretary Alan Johnson will outlaw age discrimination in 2006
The regulations, outlined in July, will make age discrimination at work illegal.
They are being brought in to comply with the European Employment Directive.
The new rules will ban age discrimination in recruitment, promotion and training.
They will ban all retirement ages below 65, unless they can be objectively justified.
And the regulations will also remove the current upper age limits for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights.
The survey by the CMI and the CIPD reveals that some organisations have already moved in the direction of more flexible retirement.
It found that 29% of employers have now removed mandatory retirement ages for staff.
Dianah Worman of the CIPD said: "I think this is very pleasing, but organisations realise there is lot more work to be done."