Too much experience: Older workers’ perceptions of ageism in the recruitment process

Demos and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) conducted research for the Centre for Ageing Better on ageism in the recruitment process from the perspective of older workers.

The report found:

  • The recruitment process does not work for many older workers, with more than one third (36%) of 50 to 69 year olds saying that their age would disadvantage them in applying for jobs.
  • Older jobseekers have different circumstances, careers, and ambitions. However, many feel that employers pigeonhole them with stereotypes such as having ‘too much experience’ (29%), exhibiting lower levels of commitment and being less physically or mentally able.
  • Ageism operates at every stage of the recruitment process, from the initial choice of wording for job advertisements right through to the experience of being interviewed.
  • Ageism in the recruitment process, often described as “soul-destroying”, has a negative impact on older workers’ job prospects, their wellbeing and their financial situation. This can potentially lead to job insecurity, early retirement and/or negatively impact people’s confidence and sense of self-identity.
  • Ageist recruitment processes can affect all ages, with younger age groups also saying they are seen as too old in certain circumstances.

Read the full report here.