As it’s revealed that Britons consider old age to start at 59, a damning new report looks into ageism in the modern workplace.
They say a lot of things get better with age, but the struggle against unemployment isn’t one of them.
A damning new report has claimed that one million over-50s have been forced out of jobs because of discrimination against older workers.
The research, by the charity Business In The Community, shines a light on ageist attitudes in the UK, and cites a report by Age UK which found that the average Brit perceives old age to begin at 59 – six whole years before the standard retirement age.
This is compared to countries such as Greece, where old age is considered to begin at 68, and Cyprus, where 67 is seen as the threshold.
There are fears that this undercurrent of ageism has seeped into the workplace, with the report showing evidence that approximately one million over 50s have been “pushed out of their previous job” because of ill health, the need to care for family members, redundancy or a pressure to retire early.
Once out of work, many are finding it almost impossible to get back on the ladder.
This has created a difficult situation which has seen millions of over 50s finding it more difficult to return to paid work than “any other age group”.
So difficult, in fact, that many have been forced into “catastrophic early retirement”, so called because of the devastating drain it threatens on personal finances of those affected.
There seems to be a misconception that older people are not as serious about job hunting as their younger counterparts - and this could be damaging.
The report said: “Older people are not in a mad dash for retirement, eager to jump into economic inactivity at the earliest opportunity.
“Continued adherence to age-related stereotypes can blind many employers to the changes that have occurred in the structure of society and the modern labour market.”
But, research also shows that if people over 50 are helped back into employment, it does not mean that younger people are crowded out of the market.
Helping older people back into the labour market could also lead to a potential £88 billion boost to the UK's GDP, as well as promising a brighter, more secure future to the workers themselves.
But with the State Pension Age continuing to rise, are things set to get worse before they can get better?
The report certainly seems to think so, saying: “Until myths around age in the workplace are tossed aside, older workers will continue to find themselves out of work and out of luck.”