Letters special: are recruiters and HR ageist?

first_imgLetters special: are recruiters and HR ageist?On 30 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. A letter recently published inPersonnel Today highlighting the perception of ageism in recruitment hastriggered a big response from readers. Many believe they have faceddiscrimination from recruitment agencies as well as internal HR departments.This is despite the approach of anti-ageism legislation in 2006. Here we printa selection of the lettersI empathised withthe letter from the 46 year old who suffered the brunt of ageism. I am 47 andwas made redundant last year and have found it very difficult to get meaningfulwork.I am now in apersonnel-related position where I can recruit, and my instructions to arecruitment agency would contain the words mature and experienced. With feweryoung people in the marketplace, and people choosing to work longer because ofimproved health, it is madness to disregard a resource with the key ingredientsof work ethic, reliability, experience and knowledge.Does my 30 years of business experience count for nothing against a schoolleaver or graduate with no practical experience? It would seem so. Recruitmentagencies are full of 20-somethings who simply cannot relate to oldercandidates; all they see is their mum or dad walking in the door.Employers plump for young people who are brash and full of confidence – theypay to train them, pay them inflated salaries and then wonder why theseyoungsters leave or attempt to blackmail their way into another salary bracket.It is time HR and recruitment agencies actively attempt to redress this senselessand upsetting discrimination – studies have shown the older employee is moreproductive and committed than their younger colleagues, but sadly, most thingsare directed at the young. Debra Rixon, Personnel admin assistant, ESRI (UK) LtdI am a 49 yearold and having been made redundant twice last year, I have found therecruitment market appalling. HR and recruitment have much to learn regarding communication and fightingtheir corner on ageism, particularly when you consider they are people businesses.I have had a successful career in financial services over the past 20 years butit seems experience and maturity count for nothing. Fortunately, there are oneor two recruitment agencies that do care but they are far and away in theminority. A lot start with good intentions but just fail to deliver. I have more determination, energy and enthusiasm now than when I was in my 20s,and I would like to ask ‘why am I being ignored?’. Harry Geary, via e-mail There is lifein HR well beyond the age of 46 – I am 57 – but the trick is to be flexible. Itook voluntary redundancy two years ago from a position to which I wasappointed, initially on a short fixed-term contract at the ripe old age of 50,and since then have continued to work by adopting the following principles:• Forget blue-chip companies as they tend to be in the vanguard of offloadingthe middle aged.• Focus on short-term contracts, be they interim or locum positions. Theyenable you to get your foot in the door and prove what you have got to offer.• Consider geographical flexibility – a Monday and Friday commute can be lessof a hardship if the role is stimulating and for a limited period.• Be flexible on sectors – most of my career has been in the private sector butthe public sector seems to be less ageist and more open to taking on privatesector expertise. When it comes to recruitment agencies, I think we have to bear in mind thatthey are, at heart, outfits dedicated to maximising sales income. A good numberare staffed by people who would do equally well in double glazing orsecond-hand car sales and interest in the well being of an applicant does notshow up on their radars.Phil Hodson, PlymouthI was maderedundant by a large publishing company in December and have mainly relied on HRagencies to assist me in finding employment. I would very much like to know thecriteria these companies use on their CV database, as time and time again Ihave been called to attend an interview only to be told a day later that theposition has been filled. Sometimes it is worse – I receive a standardisedrejection letter that has not even be signed.Also, it would be nice to be contacted by an HR consultant who has actuallyworked in HR and not a high-volume, high-turnover graduate trainee. I have now secured a very exciting role as the HR manager for a globalcosmetics company, and was placed by McKenzie Douglas in Windermere. Thesupport and advice they gave really kept me motivated and the question of ‘whomotivates the motivator’ was certainly answered by the consultants – who haveworked in HR for some years. The bigger the agency is not always the better agency in my opinion, so lookaround.Matt Oliver, NorthamptonRECADVISES ALL APPLICANTS TO BE TREATED EQUALLYMarcia Roberts is director ofexternal relations at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation says:REC advises its members toconsider all applicants equally (regardless of age) in advance of the changesto our equality laws. In addition, we have produced a ‘Good Practice Guide’ formembers wishing to promote diversity. Many of our members have joined the Employers’Forum on Age and many more refuse to accept ageist instructions from theirclients.For example, candidates’details can be sent with all reference to age removed to prevent so that theselector cannot inadvertently discriminate – many agencies do this as a matterof policy. I would add that in response tosome of your letters, just because a recruitment consultant may be young doesnot automatically mean that they will discriminate or that they cannot relateto older workers – this is an ageist assumption in itself.If agencies are ignoring olderworkers, they do so at their peril. With an ageing population, there are awealth of people out there with a multitude of skills and experience to bringto the workplace. If this valuable resource is ignored then it is bad foragency business, bad for the job seeker and bad for the UK.www.rec.uk.com Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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