Young workers 'should be wary of ageism'

05-12-2007

Young workers 'should be wary of ageism'
Younger members of the workforce have been reminded by one expert that they could be affected by ageism in the workplace just as much as old workers.

Jo Stuteley, the UK director of la creme, has said that many young workers seem to be unaware that ageism is not just a problem among older staff.

However, she noted that can affect both age groups differently, stating: "The young seem to be especially affected within the organisation rather than at the application stage, whereas for older employees it seems to be the other way around."

Her comments follow findings by la creme that suggested 60 per cent of young workers have been treated unfairly at some point in their working life because of their youth.

Tony Bourne, partner and head of the employment unit at Glovers Solicitors, remarked that much focus has centred on discrimination of older workers, but the issue does affect everyone.

"This has been the biggest change in employment law since the Sex Discrimination Act in so much as it affects every single employee and potential employee," he said.

The Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber recently highlighted the issue of ageism, calling it "unacceptable".

ClickAJob chief executive Yngve Traberg regards ageism as totally counter-productive if a business wants to maximise its opportunities.

"People are assets, whatever age they are," he insists.

"Young people have drive and ambition that is unstoppable once they're inspired and managed properly.

"Who else on your staff will work until two in the morning just to prove themselves? The drive is there, but it's the employers responsibility to mine and direct this intelligently," he remarks.

Mr Traberg asks: "Then how about senior staff?

"Where else are you going to find people with such experience or self confidence? And how much can you afford to turn your back on them?"

"Most business would do better with a mix of all ages working in sync, inspiring each other far beyond simply rocking up at nine in the morning - a synergy essential to staying competitive," he states.

As a reality check against age prejudice, Mr Traberg cites ONS figures that 93 per cent of UK business are computer-based and increasingly linked online.

"On the internet blogging sphere, everybody is the same," he points out.

"You might be a chief exec or a King Charles spaniel - nobody cares who you are, how old you are, or what you look like, as long as you contribute."

He concludes: "Meritocracy-driven business will beat its competitors over time. Every business leader should understand this and act accordingly."



Related categories: HR / Recruitment.


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