Older and wiser

20-07-2005

With the draft age discrimination regulations imminent, employers need to focus on experience and ability. Ageism is a recurring issue in our industry, and each time I am reminded of sporting prowess. For many years our top-flight sports players have the skill to �play� at the pinnacle of their careers.

A few years on, they still retain the passion for sport, yet the physical drive to be able to play at the same level has waned. So what do they do? Many refocus their expertise, passion and commitment to other areas of sport, bringing with them all the attributes acquired while at the top of their game.

If you can do the job, regardless of age, or any other �ism� for that matter, your ability should be paramount in the mind of the employer. As recruitment consultants, we need to educate managers to recruit with an open mind and to communicate to them the importance of new and varied experiences to their organisations� development.

As an industry we have always recruited people on their ability to perform the role, so I believe we have been future-proofing ourselves well ahead of the imminent legislation. It�s in our best business interests to place as many candidates as possible based on their core skills, reinforcing that any discrimination is lacking in business sense.

Candidates develop at different speeds, yet two candidates with a 15-year age range are potentially capable of doing the same job. For example, are we to place redundant 50-year-olds on the scrap heap because they have chosen to work at a lower level than they are qualified, yet are perfectly capable of performing the job? Organisations will have to demonstrate valid reasons for turning these candidates down over a younger person with the same skills.

We have to continue to equip our clients with the knowledge and expertise to adhere to a higher moral code and recognise the gravitas that can come with experience. Just look at how many of our sporting greats go on to carve out new careers for themselves based on their former glory.

CONTRIBUTOR: Philip Ayling

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