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Can’t Buy Me (Love) Work - The Beatles Golden Oldies

Can’t Buy Me (Love) Work - The Beatles Golden Oldies

Posted on 21st October 2019

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If you are old enough to remember the Beatles when they actually were the Beatles (1962-70) then you are probably in your fifties or sixties.  That being so, you are probably still in work, maybe even in technology. There are still a lot of IT directors, including some in big corporations, who fit into this age bracket.

We hear and read of high profile cases, frequently involving television personalities who have been fired for, seemingly, being too old, but for the everyday person in an everyday job, IT has an image of being full of young people (which is it), but as we’ve written here before, every one of these relative youngsters will want to have as long, productive and happy a (working) life as possible. 

Old people at work

Age discrimination is one of the last areas to which many recruiters turn a blind eye. This is partly because many people working in recruitment are young themselves.  A lot of them have come through the ranks at recruitment agencies like Be-IT, some of whom then go on to work in-house to work for firms.  They – we – all spend a lot of time keeping up to date with the latest legal requirements to ensure we don’t’ discriminate in any way against anyone, whether minority or mainstream.  The minorities get, understandably, a lot of column inches/airtime, with alleged trans/LGBT/gender/religion discrimination/phobia being a regular feature of many a Twitter timeline. For those who are not activists in this area it can be very confusing (mumsnet has just fallen out with Flora margarine over one such issue!) yet the law is quite clear and has been for a very long time. Recruiters cannot discriminate against anyone on the grounds of sex/religion/age and indeed the old adage “an equal opportunities employer” ought to be sufficient, covering, as it does, every base in its generality.  

In reality, recruiters do discriminate regularly on various, illegal grounds, as we demonstrated fairly conclusively a few years ago in our study on sex discrimination in IT. Not only that, but the one area where I suspect a lot of discrimination occurs is age.  Recent analysis by The Telegraph of ONS data shows that there is far greater chance of being made redundant if you are over 50 than if you are in your 40s, with nearly six in every 1,000 of the former being made redundant between April and June this year compared to only 2.5 in 1,000 of those in their 40s.  However, it’s heartening to read that nearly 80% of the growth in employment in the last decade is accounted for by the over-50s, with 10.4 million of this age cohort in employment by the end of 2018 – up from eight million in 2008.  

That said, there is no excuse for discrimination of any kind in recruitment and that’s an ethos we inculcate in all our resourcers and consultants. The simple mantra of “treat others as you’d wish to be treated yourself,” underpins the way Be-IT goes about its business. After all, it was the Beatles who wrote, “will you still need me, when I’m sixty-four?”

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT

Posted in Opinion, Recruitment News

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