Age is nothing but a number

Picture: Image Bank
 Picture: Image Bank
NEW laws come into force in October designed to ban age discrimination in the workplace.

From October 1, it will become a civil offence for a company to discriminate against an employee on grounds of age.

The new legislation will also ban age discrimination in recruitment, promotion and training.

Employers will also be prevented from forcing workers to retire before the age of 65 and they will be unable to specify a particular age preference on job adverts.

Although it’s something companies are not likely to admit to publicly, a recent survey by The Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found 22% of managers and personnel officers surveyed admitted to age discrimination.

More surprising was that 48% of the 2,682 respondents said their own job applications had been subject to discrimination.

According to a separate study by Kent University, commissioned by charity Age Concern, age prejudice is ubiquitous in British society.

The study interviewed 1,843 people over the age of 16 and discovered teenagers as well as pensioners sometimes feel put down because of their age.

According to the poll, from 55 onwards, people are nearly twice as likely to have experienced age prejudice than any other form of discrimination in the workplace.

Nearly 30% of people believe there is more prejudice against the old than five years ago, and that this will continue to get worse.

Case study

Michael Turner, 64, has just completed an eight-week Passport to Business Travel course with Carlson Wagonlit Travel. He started a career in travel when he was 48 after more than 20 years in the health service.

Having always had a passion for travel, he decided to do a part-time year-long travel agent competence course in London. He spent part of his course doing on-the-job training with Four Corners in Bayswater, and was offered a position there when he qualified. He was also named ‘student of the year’.

Subsequently he has worked for Travel 2, starting off as a general reservations agent and then moving into business travel and tours. Later he moved to operator and agency Destinations, where he specialised in the South Pacific before joining Flight Bookers, then Czech Airlines on the groups desk.

He joined CWT in April after completing its Passport to Business Travel training programme – the only candidate in his intake to get 100% in the business air travel exam.

I saw the Passport to Business Travel advertised in Travel Weekly and thought: “Wow that’s something I must try for”. I’m never worried about my age, but I never, ever put my age on a CV. It’s just not important.

It’s how you come across at the interview that’s important, and within five minutes of meeting my interviewers at CWT, we were getting on like a house on fire. Then, of course, through the post comes the form asking me for my date of birth, but by then they know you are right for the job.

You’re never too old for a job, as long as you are still keen and interested enough. I would tell anyone who is worried about their age to never put their date of birth on the CV, but wait until they ask you. If they see it on a piece of paper it jumps out like a flashing light in front of them.

Before, when I’ve looked for jobs, I’ve been asked how old I am and the phone goes dead. That’s down right rude. I’m glad the laws are coming in. It makes sense to have people contributing as much as possible to society.

Most of the people on my course are aged 25 to 35, but I know there are several older people that have done it.

With 16 years of travel experience, and years of frequent travel before that, I’ve got a good feeling for what it must be like to travel for business. I have a feeling for just how good it should be but you’ve got to experience it yourself to know what makes good service.

Not many people under 25 have tasted business travel. You can lose an executive thousands of pounds of business if you don’t get it right.

My five-year plan is just to settle in to this job, but my bosses have hinted that with my management background I could be a team leader. I’m not intending to give up work for a while. My partner is 14 years younger than me and we plan to retire together, and then do even more travelling.

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