top of page
  • Writer's pictureJudith Moeckell

Successful age-based recruitment

Part One - Age before beauty

Research tells us that more than a third of job applicants between the ages of 50 and 69 feel their age is a disadvantage – or even a barrier – to a successful application.

This, then, could be why the ONS data analysis by recruitment specialists Rest Less suggests that well over 40% of the self-employed workforce are aged 50 or over.

This, of course, may not have originally been their choice, what with reasons for the change to self-employment including medical conditions, restructuring and redundancy.

This is definitely a disadvantage to employers, as:

·       They’re missing out on a significant pool of talent

·       OECD analysis shows that companies with a 10% higher share of workers aged 50+ are more productive and have a lower staff turnover

·       A YouGov study indicates that 8 out of 10 employers state their older workers could help by sharing their knowledge and skills.

And now the pandemic has slowed down, so many employers still use a hybrid working model (ideal for older applicants especially) there’s no reason not to make it clear throughout the entire recruitment process that age isn’t necessarily a barrier to employment.

Another reason (and a very good one, too) is that since under the 2010 Equality Act age is a protected characteristic, not to take account of age when it comes to recruitment can result in a legal challenge of discrimination.

So … how to successfully recruit older employees?

Before posting your job ad: 

·       Remember that what can be measured can be improved. Collecting and analysing age profiles of your current workforce can identify under-representation. And the same can be done for job applicants.


When posting your job ad:

·       Different age groups use different online platforms. Ensure an even mix across age groups by using as many online platforms as possible

·       Put age into ED&I, emphasising age-inclusivity and the willingness to make reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process

·       Show employee benefits you’re offering that appeal to older candidates, such as flexible working

·       Instead of asking for full work history details, instead request work history that’s relevant to the position on offer

·       Don’t ask for dates when listing previous roles – instead ask candidates to list them with years of experience instead.



·       Prevent unconscious bias by structuring the interview process with pre-defined questions and scoring mechanisms

·       Eliminate explicit and implicit age cues, which could, for example, include asking for experience of very recent technology.


After hiring:

·       Collect age data from the whole recruitment process (longlisted, shortlisted, successful applicants, different role types) to identify and find solutions for specific diversity issues.



·       Build awareness, but also be aware that acknowledging negative stereotypes can actually reinforce them

·       Provide managers with strategies to combat the consequences of age stereotyping.


Net result:

·       A significant talent pool

·       Reduced employee turnover

·       Shared knowledge and skills

·       Happier older staff

·       Educated younger staff

·       Improved productivity.


Next month in Part Two we’ll be looking at recruiting at the other end of the age spectrum, as well as offering suggestions to improve the chances of successfully employing applicants of any age ...

9 views0 comments


bottom of page