Grandad we love you – but not enough to treat you fairly

Friday 12th June 2015

A recent study has shown that over 50s are often more ambitious at work than their younger colleagues but are overlooked for promotion by ageist bosses.

A survey was carried out with 1,400 managers and it was found that, while two-thirds of managers believed Baby Boomers (51 and 70) had the best knowledge and skills of all age groups, they were still written off for leadership positions. The majority of bosses said employees aged over 50 had low potential for career progression. This compared with a third of workers in Generation X (ages 36 to 50) and a fifth of Millennials (ages 18 to 35).

The ‘baby boomers’ were also seen as significantly worse at adapting to new ways of working and were viewed as being less keen to learn, develop and progress at work. They were perceived as having the lowest leadership potential of any age group.

However, the recent study suggests that these perceptions often “do not match the reality”.

The survey revealed that 94% of baby boomer managers said their keenness to learn, develop and progress was high and was only slightly behind middle-aged bosses, at 97%.  This was compared to 87% for employees under 36 years old.

The study suggests that older employees are victims of outdated stereotypes such as being less competent in the use of computer systems and social media. However, according to the managers surveyed, older employees were viewed as being more loyal and better at dealing with setbacks at work, compared with younger employees.

Following the study, the ICM said that if older employees continued to be overlooked for managerial promotions, Britain would suffer a “serious talent and skills shortage”.

Sophie Wilson, Employment Legal Assistant at Gordons said, “It is important that when employers are looking for candidates for leadership positions, they choose employees who have the necessary skills, experience, drive and knowledge to lead their teams and push the business forward. Whilst age should not a major factor which is usually taken into consideration when recruiting for roles, it may present itself as an issue for employers if the candidate is nearing retirement age. The employer needs to consider the training the employee would need to undergo in the role, and the impact on the business that it may have in terms of time and resources.

For more information, view the news article here.