Avoiding ageism in the recruitment process

Discriminating against employees and candidates on the basis of age is illegal, and the ageing population means that there are increasing numbers of older people in employment or available to work than ever before.

“People aren’t retiring at 65 anymore – as the modern workplace evolves, employers have to start recognising the skills and experience that older workers can bring to their business,” explains Sam Holt of Norwich accountancy recruitment specialists, Big Sky Additions.

The first meeting of the Norwich-Cambridge Tech Corridor’s Talent Taskforce team in June debated the challenges of bringing out the talent in the region’s ageing population, highlighting the value of the growing group of middle aged people who are some way off retirement, and possess skills and experience which they could pass onto the next generation of staff. “The work of this taskforce is important if we are going to change attitudes and cultures: older employees can bring extensive life experience to their role, and long term value to a company if they are supported to share their wisdom for the benefit of their team,” explained Sam.

“Discrimination or unfair treatment on the basis of age is against the law in almost all cases,” continues Sam, who places candidates of all ages in full time and part time accountancy jobs in Norfolk and Suffolk. “If you experience behaviour that makes you feel humiliated, degraded or intimidated because of your age, this is classed as discrimination.”

The Equality Act 2010 covers treatment in the workplace by employers and during the application process. “When advertising a job role, employers must not include age limits and should be careful to avoid terminology which suggests they are looking for a particular age group such as ’10 years’ experience’ or ‘recent graduates,’” explains Sam, who supports candidates to find permanent and temporary accountancy jobs in Norfolk. “They can ask for your date of birth but should keep this information separate from the application and not use it as a deciding factor.”

Candidates who feel they have experienced ageism should raise a grievance in line with the employer’s grievance procedure, or seek free advice from organisations such as ACAS or the Equality Advisory and Support Service.


Sam Holt runs an accountancy recruitment company in Norwich which is a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

For further information please contact him at Big Sky Additions on 01603 516254