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  • Do you think age discrimination will increase after coronavirus?

    Much of the press around the coronavirus has been centred around it impacting people more as they get older. With age-discrimination already an issue, we’d like to hear our members’ opinions:

    • Do you think this could make things worse, even after the coronavirus has passed?
    • Have any of you already experienced discrimination or push-back because of the coronavirus or
    • Are you confident that the fight against age-discrimination will continue to progress?

    Do share your thoughts, below.

    Posted by Helen Burns
    • Reply by Sue

      I think there probably will be more of a bias towards younger people after coronavirus, but actually I want to make what some may see as a provocative comment, but which I can say is firmly based in fact!

      I work for a charity which supports older people in the UK in a variety of ways. I manage a team of support assistants, who are all employed by us, not volunteers. Many – not all – of our support staff are ‘older’ people themselves, our oldest paid worker being 74 at the moment. I am looking for the right person, I don’t really care how old they are.

      However, what really aggravates me is when I advertise for staff and I get applicants telling me that they can’t get a job because the ‘are too old’ and ‘nobody wants’ someone who is 55 or 58 or 60 or whatever their particular age is. I am 64 and working in my post full time. Many of those telling me that nobody will give them a job because of their age refuse to believe it might be because they won’t update their skills, they can’t or won’t learn how to use I.T and they expect the jobs market to be the same as it was ten or more years ago.

      I know I am somewhat generalising here, but if we want to be considered for jobs in today’s marketplace we do have to make sure we are keeping up with what is required – even my support staff are, today, required to be able to use basic IT skills. I have worked hard at making myself attractive to employers, constantly updating my skills, taking courses etc and I do think that many people don’t necessarily see that they need to do that.

      As I say I am somewhat generalising here, but always one to play the devil’s advocate I hope it sparks some debate and that I don’t get shot down too badly!

       

      • Reply by Scotty

        Replying to the controversial but accurate in some cases comment made by Sue about how some people who are experiencing difficulties finding work are possibly not facing reality that it’s not being able to adapt and learn new relevant skills that holds them back. Or even choosing a different path or opportunity

        Yes there is discrimination that’s for sure, but we can all only control the controllable.

        Looking outside the box thinking might be required with a change in mindset/attitude and a sprinkling of some new skills. Worked for me x

    • Reply by Duncan

      Well there was discrimination before the virus so yes it will exist after and although a lot will be blamed on the virus,  I am not sure any increase will because of that.  We were already moving to a world that worshiped the young, this is not a bad thing, it has been the way of the world for a very long time, each generation has rebelled against the previous and us of age have always thought that the world is going to hell in a hand basket!

      What has changed is that experience does not mean what it once did, in the world of work, things change quickly making experience almost irrelevant, we as the older generation have to learn to adapt to these changes something we can find hard, and that is something we can tackle.

      I think the virus will increase this pace of change, as businesses find new ways to survive and thrive, experience of life and an ability to adapt is probably going to be our best weapon, how to show that to a potential employer is another problem 😉

    • Reply by salcodav

      I do think it will increase after Covid as government will be focussing on getting younger people back to work, more so then before. Although age discrimination has been going on forever, it is a good time to see the narratives of growing older shifting and we can collectively have a hand in that as advocates for more fair hiring and working practices. There are many good books out at the moment written by ageing advocates. One such book is Boomer Reinvention by John Tarnoff. A great site I just recently discovered is Centre for Ageing Better here in the UK. I do think the fight against age-discrimination will continue to progress as we as boomers, and there are a lot of us, speak out about changing the narratives but also too by building new businesses.

    • Reply by nitu

      Trouble is your discriminated against subtly, yes everyone says its illegal but when they can do a profile search and find your age or look at your linkedIn profile, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to workout someone’s age. So you don’t get shortlisted or the call back or they insist they must know your date of birth or ask you your age….if you don’t say that means your application ends there or if you say they just don’t call you back….my 30yrs of education and experience isn’t wanted plus they don’t want to pay more for your profile!

    • Reply by hirst2112

      Absolutely, they can deny all they want but age discrimination is rife not only in the work sector but in lots of other places as well in hospitals as patients is terrible

    • Reply by fionj48

      I think it has already! 😰

    • Reply by devman825

      The answer is Yes more now than prior. I have completed over 20 technical tests just to get an interview, passed all and got to first round then suddenly I get the polite email that they have chosen a different candidate. I learned very quickly best not to put your education on your CV, that way you have a chance that you will get the opportunity to get an interview. To give you an idea the test take approx 2 to 3 hours to complete then you have go through a hour with a junior developer, an hour with a senior developer, an hour with a senior management and if your lucky an hour with HR department. A very time consuming process. A week later another agency would contact me for the same job at the same company, strange how the job is still available. I find if I do not do a video interview I have a better chance of getting to the next round.

      I returned home to UK in 2016 after being away for 34 years. Getting close to now having to make a decision to look to another country other than the UK to work. With my hair turned grey the opportunities are less and less, maybe I should start my own company just for over 50 developers?

      Just my thoughts

      David

      • Reply by devman825

        Just as an update on this, I managed to get a job delivering packages as a driver, to be honest I love being in the country side despite the rain :-). The emails are quick from potential employers pretty instant replies “Sorry you have not been chosen”. That a side I now have a lot of personal time on my hands due to isolation (yes I have positive results from test) not sure where it came from as normally I have had little or no interaction with anyone. I just got great news the Digital Gov wants to interview me very excited about that, then last week I got very sick very quickly, ah just the flu I said…

      • Reply by TitaniumTinman

        Damn good idea!

      • Reply by Helen Burns

        Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley started a software company in 1962 where she employed only women, who were mostly married with children, because they had very few employment opportunities available to them. In a time where these smart and capable women were being relegated to domestic duties, Steve gave them an opportunity to use their talents, working flexible hours programming from their homes. Together, they built a very successful business, in which everyone shared in the rewards.

        Maybe your idea has some merit!

    • Reply by jo6

      We now live in a throw-away society and I feel the older we get the more dispensable we become.

      I am almost 60 and have been out of work for 11 months, apart from a couple of short term temporary roles. As soon as agencies work out your age (and some do still demand a date of birth) they make all the right noises but they’re not interested – even when it comes to jobs which match your experience exactly. On one occasion, when I queried why I hadn’t been put forward for a post I’d seen advertised, I was told I “don’t meet the demographic for that particular client.” If that’s not telling me I’m too old, I don’t now what is.

      Despite applying for virtually every job within my capabilities, since Covid-19 started, I have had one dire Skype interview and one letter of rejection. I can’t see it getting any better and quite frankly it’s soul destroying.

      • Reply by Jules28

        Hi

        I agree with you. We do live in a throw away society.

        I remember when age meant experience and knowledge which was worth something. When you stayed with a company you were loyal not stale and lacking in ambition.

        Your frustration is valid but luckily you don’t come across bitter.

        I hope you find the position you are looking for with a company that sees age as a positive.

        Good luck

        Jules

    • Reply by elspethnewlands

      I am appalled at the ageism in the UK. I returned to UK last year after spending 15 years in USA (Hawaii). When I went there I was 50 years old and thought I would struggle in the job market.

      I easily found work and at the age of 58 started our own business which we ran for 7 years.  There wasn’t even a tiny bit of ageism there and you would find people working in every category at age 90 and above if they felt like it. On the downside Hawaii was expensive so many people choose to work into their 80’s and easily could! It was refreshing to see that your experiences counted for more than your age.  Some stores actively sought mature people.  It is the complete opposite of what I have experienced here.
      I think after Covid it will be unfortunately worse

    • Reply by 1jacquelineandres

      I saw some figures a few days ago saying that the over 50’s accounted for about 54% of employment in the last year. I think as someone posted there is alot of experience and work ethic in over 50’s.

    • Reply by Lara

      Definitely! Although it is understandable, and correct in fact, that fewer jobs means those with families to raise need to be at the front of the job queue.

      I strongly believe that, as older members of society, we have to use the benefit of our years of experience, and the wiliness gained, to focus on creating work…

    • Reply by Anonymous User

      Since you posted this question, in the UK at least, the government has signalled that their focus is on getting younger people back into work; before they find themselves lumbered with the tag of “long term unemployed”. I can understand this. However, I do believe this will lead to further unconscious bias against those of us heading towards retirement age. Paper qualifications seem to trump experience.

      With so much uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 – not least no one having the foggiest idea for how long it will be around – employers will be looking to second guess what the future holds and hedge therir bets against falling foul of the worst the upcoming recession will deliver. So, inevitably, with older people more susceptible to the virus we will be regarde with a degree of suspicion.

      Sorry to sound so gloomy and negative, but as the old saying goes “a pessimist is an optimist in possession of the facts”!

      Jim

    • Reply by PaulW69

      I’m 51 years old now and for the past 10 years I have struggled to find work. I’ve had some temporary work and part time work. Now find myself redundant again due to the coronavirus. It is certainly very difficult to find work in this age bracket. I fear that I won’t be able to find work to give me an income and save for my retirement. So much is being made at the moment about black lives matter movement but ageism is rife and completely forgotten about.

      • Reply by yvonne.lyons

        Hi Paul, I know what you are talking about having experienced ageism in the last job that I did. The younger ones were credited and rewarded because they were faster in IT than me but they didn’t always know how to deal with people which I think the older employees including myself, were much better at due to experience and maturity. Despite this, I complained because progress in the company was always given to the younger ones but I couldn’t afford to take an ageism case against the company, because at that time the wonderful Mr Cameron had made it so that you had to pay £1000 to take a case forward (later thrown out by the European courts – I think), which I couldn’t afford to do. Right now it’s very scary as to, if this predicted recession occurs, where we will all be. However, persist determinedly and I hope that will bring you what employment that you need,

        Take good care,

        Yvonne

    • Reply by lena.gazey20

      Yes, I think that discrimination is bound to increase.  Unemployment is going to rise, and it is to be expected that younger people will be favoured for any jobs available.  I might say I even think that is quite right that they should be.  A person of 68 may be struggling on a pension, but at least they have a guaranteed income; someone of 48 with a family needs a job to maintain that family.  In volunteering also older people may be edged out – a problem for the charities since some of them particularly have long depended on the retired sector.  I worked a final shift at Oxfam on the Wednesday before lockdown began and was sent home at the end of it with the news that they could no longer let me work there as I was over seventy and “at risk”.  I am fit and well and would rather make my own choice of risks, but it seems that I am not allowed to do so.  I do not know at this stage whether the policy of “no over seventies” will continue; I hope not, for the charity’s sake as well as my own.  They will find it hard to continue without us – or maybe we’ll be replaced by the unemployed.  It’s going to be a very different world.

      Lena

       

    • Reply by pamelamartin

      I am 65 and hate age discrimination! Please younger people Think before calling someone an old lady or old man. I don’t feel old and it hurts!

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