APPENDIX 14 (continued)
Memorandum from Employers Forum on Age
Use people's talents to the full
A diverse organisation has more opportunities
to explore its full business potential. An organisation made up
of diverse ages, and particularly mixed age teams, will have access
to a wide range of abilities, experience and skills. Such an organisation
is more likely to be alive to new ideas and different possibilities
than one made up of a more homogeneous group in terms of background
Retain "Corporate Knowledge"
Employees with extensive knowledge of an organisation
will provide an invaluable resource in future business developmentexperienced
employees know what works and what doesn't work, can prevent repetition
of mistakes and "re-invention of the wheel."
Two-thirds of senior managers say their organisation
suffer a knowledge gap when people retire early.
"Nationwide experienced a loss of corporate
memory at the time of the merger with the Anglia in 1987. The
subsequent recruitment of younger employees in large numbers and
increasing turnover in some areas of the business prompted Nationwide
to take positive action to bring back the stability brought about
by mixed age teams. Our past experience has taught us that we
need to retain our most skilled knowledegable employees to remain
Denise Walker, Head of Corporate Personnel, Nationwide
Get closer to customers and understand their needs
Business managers need accurate and unbiased
information about existing and potential customers. An age diverse
workforcereflecting an age diverse customer basecan
deliver more successful marketing and service delivery strategies.
Develop New Markets with success
Organisations which attract a diverse workforce
and are alert to their skills, talents and experience are in an
excellent position to identify, reach out and develop new markets.
Make the company more attractive to investors
Increasingly investors now judge corporate performance
by less traditional measures such as social and environmental
responsibility and consideration of stakeholders (including employees).
Being a good employerproviding both training opportunities
and equality of opportunity for all, now generates interest from
EFA research reveals that those organisations
which take age out of their early departure strategies enjoy an
enhanced corporate image and reputation.
Make the company more attractive to customers
A poor reputation as an employer also acts a
disincentive to customers. Customers and clients are increasingly
likely to prefer dealing with a company which not only practices
fair employment policies but also ensures that its suppliers and
contractors have fair employment practises.
Benefit from a better business environment
Equal opportunity, particularly the inclusion
of all ages in wider employment and business strategies (particularly
given current demographic change) contributes to a more stable
society (and market for goods and services) with the potential
for strong economic growth.
Avoid the costs of discrimination
Discrimination can be expensive in terms of
money, lost opportunities, staff morale and business reputation.
By 2006 employees will be able to make claims on the basis of
unfair age discrimination. In addition to financial costs, such
cases bring further negative effects such as:
Damage to Staff Development
Government and employers now have less than
six years in which to shape and prepare for age discrimination
legislation. But while legislation has a role to play in challenging
age prejudice and stereotypes, on its own it is not enough to
tackle age discrimination.
It will be making a clear "business case
for age diversity" which will have the greatest impact on
employers. By demonstrating to employers that basing employment
decisions on the grounds of ability NOT age, and employing an
age diverse workforce, employers:
create a more efficient workforce:
reduce unnecessary business costs:
improve corporate image and market
There continues to be an urgent need for more
costed evidence of the benefits of age diversity. Throughout 2001,
EFA will continue investigating and presenting evidence, and promoting
the benefits our members have found in their mixed age workforces.
The EFA has developed a series of induction
workshops designed to introduce members and non-members to age
issues and to the above age diversity benefits. We would be happy
to feedback on employer responses to the issues through oral evidence.
EFA recommends that major promotion of the business
case for age diversity is critical to addressing issues around
Any age discrimination laws will only truly
be effective if employers are convinced first by the business
C. In what circumstances (if any) is the use
of age as a criterion for the recruitment and retention of employees
While the EFA campaigns to ensure recognition
that an individuals ability to do a job is the primary consideration,
we recognise that there are circumstances where even direct age
discrimination may be seen to be justifiable.
We list below examples of some of the circumstances
in which it may be argued that direct discrimination on the grounds
of age should not necessarily be unlawful but may be justified.
These circumstances have been considered in the EU directive upon
which UK law will be based.
The EFA have begun to debate these issues in
a series of seminars with member employers.
i. In protecting younger or older workers
Laws already exist to outlaw the employment
of people below a certain age. Indeed, without this exception
in UK age discrimination laws, any law would be inconsistent with
the Young Workers' Directive and the UK may face claims from children
excluded from employment opportunities for age discrimination.
ii. To promote vocational integration
Possibility contentious, but there may be circumstances
in which some would argue that age discrimination was legitimate.
For example, employers seeking an age-diverse workforce might
specifically seek employees of an age group under-represented
within the workforce. This may however be addressed through legitimate
iii. The need for a reasonable period of employment
This is a particularly difficult issue, and
perhaps only relevant where mandatory retirement remains lawful.
It is not difficult to see the argument that if an employer had
a mandatory retirement age of, say, 65 and a candidate who was
64 years and six months old applied for a position, it would be
legitimate to turn them down on the basis that there was only
six months before their retirement.
However, based on the research that shows that
older workers closer to retirement are likely to remain in employment
longer than younger workers who are likely to remain for a shorter
period before exploiting the training that they have been given
and moving to a competitor, great care should be taken with such
an exception. The dangers of such an exception can be seen from
an early sex discrimination employment tribunal case, where an
age limit of 32 for appointments in the Diplomatic Service (which
indirectly discriminated against women) was held to be justifiable
as the Tribunal accepted the employer's arguments that it took
25/30 years to reach senior position in the services and there
was a mandatory retirement age of 60 (Leavers v Civil Service
iv. Age as proxy for performance.
In other jurisdictions, cases relating to the
justification of age discrimination have often involved arguments
that age represents a fair proxy for performance in some jobs
and, as such, is a "bona fide occupational qualification".
The argument would proceed that, in a minority of cases, it can
be established that there is a reasonably close correlation between
age and the particular skills or levels of fitness needed for
a particular post. The argument would continue that it is legitimate
for the employer to rely on this correlation rather than testing,
possibly at great expense, each and every employee for performance
or fitness. Cases on this issue in North America have often involved
jobs such as fire-fighters, air traffic controllers, airline pilots
v. Bona fide seniority plans.
In this case, the argument goes that employers
need to engage in staff planning. If, say, an employer employs
five accounts clerks all of whom are in their mid to late 50s
then it is argued that it would be legitimate to prefer a younger
candidate for a vacancy since the existing staff are likely to
be retiring within a relatively short space of time. It is claimed
that it would be undesirable to find oneself needing to recruit
an entire group of workers at one time or to find oneself without
experienced workers to train new recruits.
There are clearly contentious issues around
developing exceptions and provision in age discrimination law.
Age can sometimes impact on the ability to do a job. We can therefore
expect considerable debate as age discrimination laws are developed
for the UK.
Clearly UK employers must be involved in such
a debate as they are familiar with effectively managing a workforce
and with the criteria required for different jobs of work.
EFA recommends that employers are closely involved
in developing age discrimination laws to ensure they are clear,
relevant and workable.
D. How effective is the Government's code
of practice in promoting age diversity in the workplace?
Launched in June 1999, the voluntary Code of
Practice for Age Diversity in Employment sets out a series of
principles for tackling age discrimination and promoting age diversity
in the workplace. The Employers Forum on Age was involved in the
development of the Code which aims to help employers, employees
and applicants by setting a standard for employment practice.
We welcomed its launch as a positive step forward in promoting
Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of EFA members
are using the Code of Practice on Age Diversity.
"The Code of Practice is an important reminder
for employers of the need to recognise and actively promote the
benefits of a mixed age workforce."
John Nicholson, Head of Diversity and Equal Opportunities,
HM Land Registry
Given the purpose of the Code is to change employer
practice, awareness levels amongst employers and its impact on
employment practice is critical to its success.
EFA research reveals disappointing results on
the Code's impact and we look forward to comparing our research
with the Government's own two year evaluation programme.
i. Awareness Levels
Since its inception the EFA has stressed that
the Government must ensure the Code had a high profile, with a
sustained communications and marketing campaign in order to impact
on employers. This was particularly important given the "voluntary
nature" of the Code, that is, that employers were free to
embrace or ignore it's recommendations.
The EFA have monitored awareness levels through
survey of employers. We have also conducted a survey of a business
sector and a geographical region.
(a) Nation-wide Survey of Employers1999
The research of 100 small and medium sized businesses
Only one in four employers were aware
of the existence of a Code on ageism
Of these only four in 100 say that
they are "fully aware" of the Code
63 per cent had no intention of changing
the way their business operates regarding ageism at work
Even among those who were aware of the Code,
there was widespread misunderstanding of what it was about:
50 per cent thought the Code was
about banning age limits in job advertisements
42 per cent thought it implied a
legal requirement to ban age discrimination
Over 5 per cent thought that it was
about "fast tracking for younger staff or mandatory quotas
of older workers
A third simply didn't know what the
Code is about
(b) Geographical SurveyWest Midlands (EFA
and Age Concern Birmingham)2000
Only 13 per cent of employers were
fully aware of the Code
Nearly a quarter of respondents were
either not sure or not very aware of the Code
40 per cent thought that the Code
was about banning age limits in job ads
39 per cent thought it involved a
legal requirement to ban age discrimination
19 per cent thought it included establishing
quotas for older staff
(c) Sector SurveyIT Sector (EFA and Silicon.Com)
In a survey of 1,400 IT professionals almost
three quarters of respondents (72 per cent) were unaware of the
Voluntary Code of Practice for Age Diversity.
Further CBI and other surveys have produced
The result of the three surveys reveal a disappointing
level of awareness, confusion over what the Code is about and
whether it is legally binding.
ii. Impact on Employment Policy
Survey findings also reveal low impact on employment
policy. Indeed recently a CBI Employment Trends publication revealed
that while "50 percent of employers they surveyed were aware
of the Code, only 9 per cent were using it.
(a) Geographical SurveyWest Midlands (EFA
and Age Concern Birmingham)200015
55 per cent said that the introduction
of the Code of Practice would not change the way they ran their
business (only 3 per cent said it would)
17 per cent said only legislation
would make them change practicedespite the fact that many
admit to increasing business costs due to staff turnover and difficulties
These findings are consistent with other surveys
and demonstrate that the Code has had little impact on business.
The EFA believes the Code has been limited in
its effectiveness because it is:
Voluntarywith no legal redress
Too older worker focused
Not communicating a strong business
case for age diversity
Survey results indicate much more work needs
to be done on promoting the Code of Practice. Our experience would
suggest that stimulating employer interest in the Code and in
translating awareness into action will require greater promotion
not only of the business benefits but of changing demographics.
The failure of the Code of Practice and its publicity campaigns
to effectively link changing demographics with day to day issues
such as skills shortages and retention problems is a major contributor
to its low impact on employers.
In the West Midlands survey the findings demonstrate
that while employers recognise we have an ageing populationfew
understand the impact that changing demographics will have on
Employers clearly understand that the UK population
28 per cent accurately predicted
40 per cent of the population would be over 45 in 2010.
But there is little evidence of their understanding
the impact this will have on their business:
42 per cent do not think that changing
demographics will impact on their business in any way
while 34 per cent recognise that
an ageing population will impact on retirement, only 20 per cent
think recruitment will be affected.
The DfEE themselves (including equal opportunities
minister Margaret Hodge MP) have publicly acknowledged their concern
as to the low levels of awareness of the Code. An indicator of
this concern is the investment of £50,000 in the EFA/Age
Concern Training pilot SME awareness training programme which
is currently underway.
Feedback from EFA's Induction workshops also
demonstrates that the Code has failed to greatly enhance awareness
of age diversity.
The findings of an EFA straw pollfollowing
the launch of the Code disappointed those who saw the Code as
a viable alternative to legislation.
The EFA would also suggest promotion of the
Code has failed to ignite employer interest because it has focused
too much on older workers. Members of the EFA continue to emphasise
that age discrimination affects all employees at all ages, and
that age diversity is the key issue of interest. Focusing at one
end of the spectrum is not an approach that will inspire UK employers
As we have mentioned earlier the definition
of "older" or "younger" worker is fluid according
to which industry or individual workplace culture you are looking
at. Linking promotion of the Code with findings from sector surveys
will bring home key messagesthe surprising age levels at
which discrimination can commence can serve to shock and inform
both individual and employers on this issue. The EFA IT Survey
2000 is a good example, this survey found a significant proportion
(9 per cent) of IT professionals think that the term "older
worker" can be applied to someone 35 years old or younger
(although the majority think that it begins to apply at age 35).
In summing up, the Employers Forum on Age believe
that the Code of Practice is a key and useful document. The experience
gained in creating and promoting the Code will be invaluable to
the effective introduction of age discrimination laws by 2006.
Promotion and evaluation of the Code, the collation
of new good practice and associated documents will assist the
Government and employers, campaigners and Government as they work
together to shape effective and workable legislation.
The EFA recommends further resources are put
into promoting the Code as a way of preparing UK employers for
Successful promotion will depend a continued
high profile communications strategy linking demographics with
the business case for age diversity. Forthcoming legislation should
also make employers more responsive.
E. In what ways do other Government policies
such as the new deal help or hinder older workers, especially
unemployed job seekers?
The EFA welcomed the launch of New Deal 50+
as significant because it marked the first Government-backed programme
specifically supporting older people's opportunities for training
The fact that there is no cut-off at age 65
is positive in that it recognises the right of those over the
existing retirement age to take up new opportunities.
New Deal 50+ may be viewed as a valuable vehicle
for culture change because the investment in over 50's sends a
clear message to both employers and participating individualsthat
over 50 year olds are both able to work and need to work. As skills
shortages bite, this scheme promotes older workers as a valuable
resource to employers. The success and contribution of those placed
with new employers through this programme will significantly contribute
to making the business case for employing older workers.
The EFA also welcome the creation of a pool
labour for employers seeking to source experienced and mature
In practice however, New Deal 50+ fails to address
the huge increase in economic inactivity rates, particularly those
for older men because it does not cover those people currently
classed as economically inactive and not on any form of benefit
(some 1.5 million people). Nor does it provide, in the event of
the job or new business folding, as assurance of a return to the
previous level of benefits. These factors may be a disincentive
to individuals. Furthermore, people who have been made redundant
or have only just registered for benefits have to wait six months
A criticism however is that the structure of
the whole New Deal scheme, in so much as it draws arbitrary distinctions
between the employment needs of different age groups, itself contributes
to a culture of age discrimination.
"It's good that new schemes have been introduced
to assist older workers, but we believe the Government would benefit
from stepping up its campaign to raise the profile of the business
benefits of recruiting and retaining older workers."
Denise Walker, Head of Corporate Personnel, Nationwide
The EFA recommends incorporating the business
benefits of age diversity into the promotion of New Deal Schemes.
F. Is there a case for anti-discrimination
legislation, and if so, what provisions should it include?
It is usually argued that bringing about true
culture change requires legislation. The answer however is rarely
so simple. Both Sex Discrimination and Racial Discrimination laws
have arguably had limited cultural impact decades after implementation.
Recent Government figures reveal
that 25 years on from the introduction of equality legislation,
few employers have policies which actively seek to close the gender
pay gap (currently 18 per cent).
Labour Force Survey figures reveal
that 30 years after the Race Relations Act was passed and despite
economic growth, 27 per cent of black men are unemployed compared
to less than 6 per cent of their counterparts.
Four years on from its enactment,
the Disability Discrimination Act has had only marginal impact
Experience from overseas also suggests age discrimination
legislation is patchy in effectiveness. Though the jury is still
out on the recently introduced age discrimination in employment
legislation in Australia, New Zealand and Eire, in the US which
has had legislation since 1967, there is still little conclusive
proof of its effectiveness.
The EFA's employer members have always held
mixed views on legislation. In the past half our members supported
legislation (partly because it provided the opportunity to ensure
age diversity policies were given proper recognition internally),
other members, however, viewed formal law as unnecessary.
One positive impact of legislation might mean
"age discrimination" is recognised as an issue. It would
ensure age discrimination is awarded its rightful place alongside
gender, race and disability and that those who suffer such discrimination
have equal right to redress.
Following ratification of a recent EU Directive
the debate over whether to legislate or not is no longer relevant.
The UK is now obliged to introduce anti-age discrimination laws
by 2006 which comply with Council Directive 2000/78/EC ("the
UK AGE LEGISLATION
To some extent debate over the provisions of
UK law is redundant. UK anti-age discrimination laws must be consistent
with the UK's obligation under the Directive. UK law must, therefore,
follow the model established under the Sex Discrimination Act
and Race Relations Act set out in the Directive.
UK law must outlaw four types of age discrimination,
namely discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and
(a) Direct discrimination
That is discrimination which occurs when a person
is treated less favourably than another on the grounds of their
age (ie but for being of a particular age they would not have
been subjected to the detriment to which they had been subjected).
(b) Indirect discrimination
This is discrimination which occurs where "an
apparently age-neutral provision, criterion or practice puts persons
of a particular age at a particular disadvantage compared with
other persons not of that age" (ie has a disproportionate
disadvantageous affect on people of a particular age).
(c) Harassment and victimisation
These latter two forms of discrimination, namely
harassment and victimisation require little comment. These laws
will follow the framework with which we are already familiar in
the fields of race, sex and disability discrimination.
The key issue for the UK Government will be
the circumstances in which it will allow age discrimination to
be lawful. These can be roughly divided into four key areas:
mandatory retirement ages
genuine occupational requirements
justification of direct discrimination
justification of indirect discrimination
The EFA will be engaging in a wide-ranging consultation
exercise with its members regarding their views on these issues.
1.1 Mandatory retirement ages
In theory, mandatory retirement could effectively
become illegal. This would have significant impact on employers.
The Government is under no legal obligation
to either include or exclude mandatory retirement from domestic
laws and could consider allowing employers to set their own mandatory
retirement ages (retirement at which will not amount to age discrimination).
The Government would also be able to consider setting its own
rules, for example, that mandatory retirement at 65 would not
There are cogent arguments both for and against
excluded mandatory retirement from age discrimination laws.
There are strong social and economic policy
reasons for encouraging workers to work longer. It is also the
case that many individuals who have passed their normal retirement
ages are perfectly able to fulfil their duties and responsibilities
and that there is no rational reason for enabling an employer
to exclude them arbitrarily from employment.
However, it may also be argued that mandatory
retirement enables employers to manage a flow of new employees
into the workforce effectively in a predictable manner to allow
them to manage recruitment and staffing levels.
Without mandatory retirement ages, employers
would need to rely on poor performance as a reason for dismissing
workers who were finding the responsibilities of their post difficult
to fulfil as they approached traditional retirement ages. This
would put pressure on many older workers unnecessarily. It is
argued that in many cases these employees would otherwise be allowed
to work through to their mandatory retirement.
It should be borne in mind that mandatory retirement
ages in the UK workforce are often linked to State pension ages.
These were fixed many decades ago and the improved health, working
conditions and diet of today's workforce mean that workers are
likely to remain fit and healthy to a far older age.
1.2 Genuine occupational requirements
Provisions might also need to consider where
age constitutes a "genuine and determining occupational requirement"
which is legitimate and proportionate. In such cases discrimination
should not be unlawful.
The UK Government will have the choice between:
(a) merely providing an exemption where age
constitutes a "genuine occupational requirement" without
setting out a list of cases which constitute occupational requirements;
(b) (as is the case in the Sex Discrimination
Act and Race Relations Act) setting out an exhaustive list of
circumstances where age can constitute a genuine occupational
Example: One obvious circumstances where age
would constitute a genuine occupational requirement would be selecting
an actor to play a character of a particular age. It would clearly
be legitimate to require that such actor be of a similar age to
the character whom he or she was portraying. In the Race Relations
Act it is legitimate to seek candidates from a particular racial
group where "the holder of the job provides persons of that
racial group with personal services promoting their welfare, and
those services can most effectively be provided by a person of
that racial group." It may be argued that there are circumstances
where personal services are being provided to a particular age
group where it might be, arguably, legitimate to require an employee
of that particular age group. An example might be that it would
be legitimate to require a youth worker providing services to
teenagers to be within a particular age group. However, on the
contrary, it might also be argued that employers should seek the
best employee and that an older worker is no less able to empathise
with and obtain the confidence of teenagers than a younger worker
closer to their age.
1.3 Justification of direct discrimination
Under the UK's sex and race discrimination laws
direct discrimination can never be justified. However, Governments
are entitled to provide that direct age discrimination may be
lawful where the difference of treatment is objectively and reasonably
In drafting domestic laws the UK Government
(a) providing that direct age discrimination
can never be justified:
(b) setting out an exhaustive list of circumstances
in which age discrimination laws may be justified; or
(c) providing that direct age discrimination
can be lawful if objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate
As with other similar types of legislation,
the Government could set out detailed Guidance on when direct
age discrimination may be lawful if it chooses option (b) or (c)
However, whichever provisions are enacted employees
will want a degree of certainty and to know what they can and
1.4 Justification of Indirect Discrimination
UK law must also include provision for indirect
age discrimination where such discrimination would be lawful when
it can be objectively justified by legitimate business aim.
It is unlikely that UK domestic age discrimination
laws would go any further than the provisions within the Directive.
The Government may wish to provide Guidance on when indirect discrimination
can be justified in this way.
Such guidance would have to cover both provisions,
criterion and practices which disproportionately disadvantage
younger workers as well as those which disadvantage older workers
for example the issue of experience.
For example, if an employer requires candidates
to have at least five years experience in a particular field this
criterion is likely to "disproportionately disadvantage"
younger workers who are less likely to have been in a position
to acquire such experience. Employers may then find themselves
being challenged to justify experience requirements for jobs.
Requirements for professional experience or
seniority in service for job candidates is specifically anticipated
by Article 6(I)(b) of the Directive.
An example of a criterion which might disproportionately
disadvantage older workers would be a requirement for a candidate
to be, say, "a recent graduate". An employer may seek
to justify such a requirement by saying that it required employees
that who were up to date on current thinking in a particular discipline.
On the other hand, it might be argued that, in such circumstances,
the employer themselves should be assessing how up to date the
particular candidate is and not relying on potentially discriminatory
requirements such as this.
II. POOLS FOR
Those familiar with indirect sex and race discrimination
claims will be used to employees of a particular group comparing
the effects of a requirement or condition on workers in that group
compared to those outside of it. Age Discrimination is more complicated
in that it is not possible to ascribe individuals to particular
"groups". There is no accepted line between "older"
and "younger" workers. The definition in Article 2(b)
of the Directive refers to persons of "a particular age".
But guidance will be needed as to relevant "groups"
The Government would need an audit of existing
employment laws to ensure that any which discriminated on the
grounds of age were brought into line with the Directive. The
most obvious example which comes to mind is the payment of larger
statutory redundancy payments to older workers than to younger
The provisions of UK age laws will no doubt
create intense debate. We can anticipate considerable argument
over exclusions that may be viewed by some as legitimising age
discrimination, and by others as the only way to make age law
The EFA will contribute to this debate through
extensive consultation with members on the different provisions.
However, we would wish to reiterate that age
discrimination laws will fail to address age discrimination in
employment unless they are clear and user friendly to employers.
Given the relative complexity of age issues, comprehensive guidance
on what employers can and cannot do, will be critical.
Age discrimination laws and guidance must also
be accompanied by widespread promotion of the business benefits
of age diversity and the UK's changing demographics.
Legislation will be welcome if it can raise employers'
awareness of the business benefits of a mixed age workforce for
organisations of different sizes.
Denise Walker, Head of Corporate Personnel, Nationwide.
Some consideration must also be given to Government
plans to support UK age laws through the introduction of a Commission/organisation
to monitor its effectiveness.
The EFA recommends ongoing promotion of the
business case for age diversity, public debate on changing demographics
and widespread consultation with employers on creating workable
law in the run up to the introduction of legislation.
Promotion of the business case for age diversity,
case studies of good practice and public debate on changing demographics
will also need to continue well after UK age laws are introduced.
The Employers Forum on Age is well placed to
submit evidence to this inquiry on the basis of the combined experiences
of 170 employers who are working to address age discrimination
and promote age diversity, together with the extensive research
we have conducted into age and employment issues.
Members of the Employers Forum on Age welcome
the Employment Sub-Committee's Inquiry into Age Discrimination
in Employment and the interest that parliamentarians are now taking
in this important issue.
Age Discrimination in employment clearly exists.
However, it will only be accepted as a major business issue if
it is recognised that age discrimination can affect anybody, at
any age and at any stage of the employment cycle.
Action to address age discrimination will only
be effective if:
Employers are convinced by the business
Employers are involved in the development
of age discrimination laws to ensure that they are clear, relevant
There is high profile communications
strategy which links the Voluntary Code of Practice with changing
demographics, the Business Case for Age Diversity, UK age laws
and employer guidance implementing age diversity.
The Employers Forum on Age have developed three
key messages which, if accepted, will help ensure age discrimination
in employment is addressed.
1. Only the business case for age diversity
will convince employers to address age discrimination in employment
Ageist attitudes and culture among UK employers
will only be challenged if they are presented with a very strong
business case for age diversity. A culture of minimum compliance
should be avoided.
2. Individuals and employers have equal responsibility
for neutralising age in employment
While Government and employers are key players
in creating a framework for and facilitating positive culture
change in employment practice, individuals, who themselves contribute
to the stereotypes of age, also have a role to play. They have
a responsibility to maintain their employability and reverse the
early retirement culture which has grown up within the public
and private sectors.
3. Government must translate its commitment
to age diversity from words into action
Finally none of these major shifts in attitude
will take place if the Government, as the foremost employer in
the UK, is not more visibly seen to translate their commitment
to age diversity into action by: setting the standard; sending
the right messages; providing employers and employees with incentives
and guidance; and changing current rules on eg flexible retirement,
Members of the Employers Forum on Age will be
delighted to submit oral evidence on specific issues and share
their experiences with the Committee.
1. The members of the Employers Forum on
Age recommend that the Select Committee Inquiry takes account
of the three key messages of this submission, namely:
Only the business case for age diversity
will convince employers to address age discrimination in employment.
Individuals and employers have equal
responsibility for neutralising age in employment.
Government must translate its commitment
to age diversity from words into action
The members of the Employers Forum on Age would
like to recommend the following individuals to submit oral evidence
to the Select Committee:
Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Employers
Forum on Age, has shown his unwavering commitment to age diversity
issues since the launch of the EFA in 1996.
As Chairman of the Financial Services Authority
and previously Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Director
General of the Confederation for British Industry, Howard Davies
is ideally placed to speak on behalf of EFA members.
James Davies is a Partner in Lewis Silkin's
Employment Department. James's particular interests are in discrimination
law, European employment law and Transfer of Undertakings. James
writes regularly on employment matters in the national, legal
and personnel press, and also for the Employers Forum on Age.
He speaks regularly on the subject and sits on editorial boards
of a number of employment law publications.
Denise Walker is Chair of the Employers forum
on Age Membership Advisory Group and Head of Corporate Personnel
at Nationwide Building Society, Denise is accountable for developing
the employment environment in Nationwide including strategies
for employment contracts, organisation design, pay and benefits
(including pension provision), health and safety, equal opportunities
and leading negotiations with the Nationwide Group Staff Union.
Her approach is based on flexibility. She aims to increase choice
for employees across the Society which she believes will help
the business meet the needs of its' members. Nationwide Building
Society were the winners of the DfEE sponsored Personnel Today
Award for Age Diversity.
Keith Faulkner sits on the Employers forum on
Age Leadership Group and is Company Secretary of Manpower PLC
and Director of Public Affairs. His responsibilities include Manpower's
links with professional bodies, the trade unions and Government
departments and working with major client organisations on development
of HR strategies.
Ray Baker is Employee Relations Controller of
B&Q. He is responsible for the innovative policies that B&Q
are famous for and also for their ongoing development. B&Q
are the most famous employer in the UK vis a" vis older
workers and have contributed greatly to the age and employment
Keith Handley is Director of Change Management
for the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. He is
currently a vice-president of SOCPO. He chaired METRA's Older
Workers Campaign Group "Age No Barrier" and has
been involved in a number of high profile national age awareness
campaigns over the past few years. Keith is a member of the EFA's
Members Advisory Group and regularly speaks on age discrimination
Richard Worlsey is the author of the seminal
work Age in Employment (1996) and has led the Carnegie
Third Age Enquiry for many years. He is a recognised expert in
The secretariat of the Employers Forum on Age
will be happy to assist and offer guidance to the Inquiry in any
Employers Forum on Age
13 EFA Membership Survey 2000. Back
Employers' Awareness of the Code of Practice, EFA 1999 Back
Regional Survey, EFA/Age Concern Birmingham, 2000. Back
Ageism in the IT sector, EFA./Silicon.com 2000. Back
CBI Employment Trends Survey 2000. Back
Promoting Age Diversity in SME's, EFA/ACT/DfEE. Back
Employer Awareness of the Code of Practice, EFA 1999. Back
Ageism and IT, EFA/Silicon.com, 2000. Back