A former pensions minister was the keynote speaker at a seminar on ageism in the workplace organised by a Jewish employment charity this week.
Baroness Ros Altmann, a former Saga director who served under David Cameron and Theresa May, said the pandemic had “brought back the opportunity for some employers to discriminate against older staff when choosing who to retain or let go”.
Speaking in a seminar organised by Resource, a London-based charity, she said older workers “tend to be regarded in the workplace as vulnerable and weaker, regardless of their actual health,” despite being fitter and healthier than ever before.
The seminar, conducted via video-conferencing app Zoom and held in conjunction with JW3 on 23 June, addressed age discrimination at work and in job applications, which Altmann said was “still regarded as more acceptable than other types of discrimination”.
She added: “Employers should look at the individual and not pigeon-hole every older person in one homogenous group. Over 50s can offer experience and knowledge and thrive passing these on to younger colleagues.”
Altmann advised older job seekers to keep up-to-date by continuing to learn new skills, consider using their experience and contacts to become self-employed, think about volunteering to refresh their CVs, choose to learn about social media, network among contacts, be patient, and “never give up”.