Ageism and sex­ism ‘end women’s ca­reers at 45’

Firms ac­cused of fail­ing to re­cruit, train and pro­mote them

Daily Mail - - News - By Louise Ec­cles Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

A DOU­BLE dose of ageism and sex­ism ef­fec­tively ends women’s ca­reers at the age of 45, a ma­jor re­port will say to­mor­row. The Gov­ern­ment- backed re­search found that firms write off ma­ture fe­male staff by fail­ing to re­cruit, train and pro­mote them.

Men also face age dis­crim­i­na­tion, but their ca­reer pro­gres­sion ap­par­ently ends a decade later than women – at around 55.

The study by the Gov­ern­ment’s older work­ers’ cham­pion, Ros Alt­mann, ques­tioned HR ex­ec­u­tives, em­ploy­ees and bosses.

She un­cov­ered damn­ing ev­i­dence that women who have barely reached mid­dle age are be­ing passed over for bet­ter-paid roles be­cause they were deemed to be ‘past it’.

Work­ers with young bosses face the worst dis­crim­i­na­tion, as do those who are in­creas­ingly re­quired to have IT skills, in­clud­ing knowl­edge of so­cial me­dia.

Dr Alt­mann said many em­ploy­ers wrongly as­sume that older staff who are less familiar with com­puter tech­nol­ogy will not be able to learn, and fail to train them, leav­ing them lag­ging be­hind.

Women faced an ex­tra layer of dis­crim­i­na­tion from em­ploy­ers who want young, fe­male staff who ‘look a cer­tain way’, she added.

The damn­ing re­port will say: ‘Pro­mo­tion prospects for older women are limited – tal­ent pro­gres­sion for them stops around age 45.

‘For men it is said to be around age 55. Af­ter that, the at­ti­tudes in the work­place usu­ally change.’

Dr Alt­mann told the Mail it was wrong to write some­one off just be­cause off their age.

She added: ‘This should be as un­ac­cept­able as de­cid­ing not to pro­mote or train them for ca­reer pro­gres­sion be­cause of their race. It is pure dis­crim­i­na­tion.

‘Many women and men are reach­ing their prime in their fifties, and are cer­tainly not past it.

‘Un­for­tu­nately, work­place at­ti­tudes as still so ageist and this ur­gently needs to change.’

The re­port sin­gled out the tele­vi­sion in­dus­try as a prime ex­am­ple, claim­ing that older women are ‘far less likely to be re­tained as main news­read­ers or pre­sen­ters’.

Last month, a for­mer BBC jour­nal­ist claimed that the cor­po­ra­tion wrote off women over 50 as ‘bark­ing’. Olenka Frenkiel told the house of Lords she feared bosses would ‘try to paint me mad’ when she chal­lenged the re­dun­dancy no­tice she was served with af­ter en­ter­ing her mid-50s.

For­mer Coun­try­file host Miriam O’Reilly, 58, won a land­mark age dis­crim­i­na­tion case against the BBC four years ago, af­ter claim­ing she was axed from the show when it moved to a primetime slot.

Dr Alt­mann said the me­dia was one of many in­dus­tries fail­ing to value women over 45.

She cited the case of a lec­turer called Lau­ren, with a PhD and 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, who was over­looked for a more se­nior job in favour of a re­cent stu­dent of hers.

The re­spected aca­demic, who is in her 50s, said: ‘There was no ra­tio­nal rea­son for them not to give it to me. I re­alised then that I was be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against be­cause of my age.’

A re­cent sur­vey of teach­ers over 50 by union NASUWT found 40 per cent had seen job ad­verts that sug- gested older teach­ers should not ap­ply. Nearly a third said they had been sub­jected to neg­a­tive com­ments about their com­pe­tence due to their age.

Caro­line Abra­hams, of Age UK, said: ‘Knowl­edge, tal­ent and am­bi­tion don’t dis­ap­pear be­cause peo­ple reach a cer­tain age, so it is very dis­ap­point­ing that older work­ers, in­clud­ing many women, face so many ageist bar­ri­ers in the work­place.

‘We are all living longer and work­ing lives are ex­tend­ing – by 2020 state pen­sion age will be 66 for ev­ery­one, and many of us will want to con­tinue work­ing into our early 70s or even be­yond.

‘em­ploy­ers sim­ply can’t af­ford to ig­nore their older em­ploy­ees – not only is it dis­crim­i­na­tory, it doesn’t make eco­nomic sense to ig­nore the wealth of skills and ex­pe­ri­ence they have built up. There is over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence that older work­ers are at least as pro­duc­tive as their younger coun­ter­parts.’

‘It is pure dis­crim­i­na­tion’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.