20 October 2014
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What is age discrimination?

Ageism or to use its other name age discrimination is when older people are discriminated against or stereotyped negatively due to nothing more than their age.

There are many ways in which is can manifest itself, one of the most common is when say a retired person or senior jobseeker say in their 50’s applies for a job vacancy that they may have all the relevant experience and qualifications for. However they find that they are not taken on and that the successful applicant is someone a lot younger with no real relevant experience. However it can also be argued that prejudice and negative age discrimination also affects and applies to young people like teenagers who may be overlooked when applying for jobs because they are considered too young and inexperienced. This practise is known as jeunism.

It can also affect those already in work but who have been passed over in say promotion in favour of younger workers.

On the flipside it can be argued that for some jobs younger people are more qualified to do the job. For instance if a modelling agency needs to promote make up for teenagers then it would be better for them to employ a teenage model rather than a model in say her 30’s. To use another example for the opposite spectrum it could be justifiably argued that anyone wanting to become a astronaut should have many years training and experience of flying aeroplanes before they consider it as a career. Hence it can be argued that a young person who has just finished college or university will not have that sort of experience. So as you can see trying to answer the question what is age discrimination? is not as easy as it seems.

It is generally considered that older workers bring certain benefits to a business, one of them being of course that they have much more experience in their trade than younger colleagues. Age diversity is considered a positive option for employers.

Aside from work there are other forms of age discrimination, these can come in the form of benevolent ageism such as ignoring elderly people or patronising them. This is slightly different than say outright workplace discrimination, but never the less is still not nice.

Your age should not be a barrier when looking for employment especially when applying for public sector jobs. The age discrimination act 2006 was introduced to combat job discrimination for elderly people with the introduction of the The Employment Equality Age Regulations 2006. This Act covers most aspects of everyday life, it includes those already in work, and also jobseekers. Every year there are many age discrimination cases brought to courts by people who feel they have been discriminated against.

As a general note readers should be aware that in the UK the retirement age is 65 years for men and women, although that may change in the future.


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