Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

All about age: the other end of the telescope — employment discrimination

Arguably, older workers have never had it so good in terms of the focus the government and employers are placing on their rights. Earlier this month, Rosalind Altmann CBE, a former director-general of Saga, was appointed by the government as its new Business Champion for older workers. Her remit is to make the case for older workers within the business community and to tackle outdated perceptions of older workers.

This appointment is part of a general drive on the part of the government to highlight the benefits to individuals, business and (perhaps most significantly) the economy as a whole of people aged 50 and over staying in work. In our article last month, we discussed the Department for Work and Pensions paper, ‘Fuller Working Lives — A Framework for Action’, which reinforces these principles. Obviously there is still a long way to go, but there does seem to be a growing recognition among the business community that retaining the skills and experience of the older worker makes sound business sense.

But are we in danger of neglecting our younger potential workforce? The recent McKinsey report, ‘Tackling Youth Unemployment’, has highlighted what we regularly see reported in the news: youth unemployment in Europe is almost unsustainably high. Across the European Union, 5.6 million young people in the labour market are currently unemployed, and a total of eight million are neither in education nor in work. In the UK, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is keen to stress that, despite some recent fluctuations, the current figure of youth unemployment (around 950,000 of 16- to 24-year-olds) remains at a record high…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co briefing.

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