Company Partners News

Ageism not a problem for small businesses.

4th Jun 2007

Recent research suggests that many small businesses are not putting procedures in place to allow employees to request to work beyond retirement age, despite it now being the law. However it may not be a reluctance to embrace age legislation, but rather that it isn't perceived as a problem.


Research for Lloyds TSB Business, carried out by the SERTeam at the Open University, discovered that just 25 per cent of companies had put procedures in place to allow employees to request to work beyond retirement age. However, also according to the survey, Britain's small business leaders appreciate the benefits that older workers can offer their firm.

Increasingly small businesses are in fact started and run by older workers who may have been made redundant in their 50's and despite the fanfare made by the government, still can't get a job (we can't all work at B&Q).

All the laws in the world won't make large companies employ people they don't want. In the United States they have had age discrimination laws since 1967, although slightly narrower in scope than in the UK. Yet, employment amongst the over 50s has continually fallen, not risen.

Ask anyone who is in their mid-fifties and trying to get employment with the sort of large corporation that employed them when they were in their thirties, how it is going. Even taking on a lesser role is not always the answer, since they often are the jobs that are publicised as being for "Bright, energetic" people looking for "great career prospects" and I don't think they mean the over 50s.

Now-a-days you can't always afford to retire early and yet the type of companies that used to welcome you on board are not interested, so what do you do? More often the answer is to work for yourself. Or to join a small business that values experience and knowledge.

Small business may not be very good at putting in place all of the procedures that no doubt will be covering the well padded derrières of large corporations, but are much more likely to already be embracing the right attitudes and capitalising on the skills that the over fifties will bring to them.