Is age the forgotten protected characteristic?
By Lydia Cronin
Age is a protected characteristic under the UK’s Equality Act, but it is often not discussed in the same manner as other characteristics. Older workers can be overlooked for training and development, or subjected to assumptions about their skillsets.
We are also seeing increased pension inequity with people of colour in particular experiencing inequal pay from pensions, according to The People’s Pensions data.
Women aged between 55-64 are leaving the UK workforce at a higher rate than their male counterparts, according to figures from The Resolution Foundation in August 2021. Some research suggests that caring responsibilities are a contributing factor for this difference between rates of leaving the workforce.
Organisations can struggle with large age gaps between management and entry-level employees, with retaining older employees, and with recruiting talent across multiple generations.
How can we ensure the workplace is inclusive for all generations?
- The Age and Employment Network provides guidance on creating workplaces that are more inclusive of multiple age groups.
- Debias your systems to ensure that older employees are not overlooked for career development opportunities or in recruitment.
- Challenge language and comments that are stereotyping different generations. Research shows that in many essential ways, older and younger workers have lots in common.
- Ensure that your organisation’s support for health conditions and carers is inclusive of multiple generations in your workforce.
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