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The number of people over 50 in work has risen by 2.4 per cent - ...
The number of people over 50 in work has risen by 2.4 per cent -

131,000 people - in the past year, according to figures published

this week. But a recent survey carried out for the department of

education and employment revealed that 78 per cent of unemployed

people in that age group felt their age counted against them when

looking for work.

Speaking at the Institute of Personnel and Development Conference, minister for employment and equal opportunities Margaret Hodge


'The employment rate for older people is higher but there are still

too many people between 50 and state retirement age who are not

working. That is over 30 per cent - 10 per cent higher than that of

all ages.

'But our recent research showed that 78 per cent of unemployed people

over 50 felt their age made it harder to get a job. Seventy one per

cent of people of all ages believed that a lot of valuable experience

and expertise is wasted by employers who won't recruit people over a

certain age. That represents a shocking waste of talent, energy,

commitment and experience.

'At a time when good people are in short supply, employers cannot

afford to ignore the contribution older people can make. That is bad

for business and bad for Britain.'

'I hope things are beginning to change. Since we launched the Code of

Practice on Age Diversity in the Workplace last June, more than

54,000 copies have been sent out. It was developed with the help and

advice of key partners including the IPD, CBI, TUC, Employers Forum

on Age and Institute of Management. We are building on this with a

publicity campaign and a range of competitions and awards to

highlight good practice.

'It takes time to change attitudes towards age prejudice, but the

government is determined to make that culture change happen, and we

look to our partners to help us achieve it.'


Research into Age Discrimination in the Workplace was carried

out by Continental Research on behalf of the DfEE. 619 people

between 18 and retirement age were interviewed by telephone. Its

findings are available on the age diversity website


The Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment was

launched on 14 June 1999, and the Age Diversity campaign on 14

February 2000. Copies of the Code of Practice can be ordered from

08457 330 360.

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