Age discrimination laws yet to impact on employers – say Origen

Age discrimination legislation has yet to have an impact on the majority of UK firms.

According to the seventh annual Employee Benefits Survey conducted by Origen, this is because over 50% do not employ any staff over the age of 65, which rises to 80% in sectors such as IT, telecoms and media.

The legislation, which was implemented in October 2006, outlawed age discrimination in employment and vocational training, whereby compulsory retirement age below 65 is only legal where it can be objectively justified.

The survey, which was based on responses from 419 UK companies, found the retail sector is beginning to recognise the skills of more mature employees, possibly due to the sector being able to facilitate varying work patterns. Almost 20% of firms in the retail sector are actively recruiting staff over age 65.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are more likely to have employees over the age of 65 compared to large firms, while employers in the north of England are least likely (34%) to have employees over age 65, compared with those in the south (54%).