Who faces age discrimination?
A survey of jobseekers aged over 50 has shown that only 10% could say that they had never experienced age discrimination while looking for work. Half of the respondents said that they had suffered age discrimination but only 13% thought that the anti-discrimination legislation introduced in 2006 had helped older people find work. Meanwhile 38% claimed that they had suffered age discrimination while at work.
Most people consider 'older' to be around 15 years above their current age, and there appears to be a consensus amongst statisticians that the term 'older' refers to people aged 50 and over. The definition of 'young' people tends to be people aged up to 25 and most policymakers and authors agree with this definition.
Full-time employees over 60 receive £22,611 in median gross annual earnings, compared with £26,191 for those in their 50s and £27,951 for those in their 40s.
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2008
Once out of work, older people tend to remain unemployed for longer than younger people: between August-October 2008, 33% of those over 50 had been unemployed for over a year compared with 29% of 25-59 year-olds.
Just 13% of people think that older people should be encouraged to retire early to reduce unemployment, compared with 70% of people in 1983.
Some 80% believe it is wrong to make someone retire just because they have reached a certain age, up from 68% in 2001, although 33% would disapprove of a man working after 70, and 28% of a woman.
Three-quarters think refusing a job to an applicant because they are over 50 is wrong. However, 47% believe this often happens (down from 58% in 2001). Only 32% want to work past 65, although this proportion almost doubles (61%), when respondents are offered more flexible working arrangements, such as shorter working hours.
British social attitudes: the 26th report, 2009