Age discrimination legislation has yet to have an impact on the majority of UK firms, as over 50% do not employ any staff over the age of 65, which rises to 80% in IT telecoms and media, according to research conducted by Origen.
The legislation that was implemented in October 2006 outlawed age discrimination in employment and vocational training, whereby compulsory retirement age below 65 years is only legal where it can be objectively justified.
Origen’s seventh annual Employee Benefits Survey, based on responses from 419 UK companies, found the retail sector is beginning to recognise the skills more mature employees in the working population have, possibly due to that sector being more able to facilitate varying work patterns. Almost 20% of firms in the retail sector are actively recruiting staff over age 65.
SMEs are more likely to have employees over the age of 65 compared to large firms and firms in the North of England are least likely (34%) to have employees over age 65, compared with those in the South (54%).