According to a new report job adverts are not as inclusive as they should be, particularly in relation to attracting a broad range of age groups. Whilst most age-stereotypical language didn’t have a strong effect on whether or not people would apply for the job, it did affect whether applicants’ felt they would be a good fit with the job and the company. Words like ‘innovative’ and ‘adaptable’ had a negative impact on older applicants’ confidence in the success of their application, while the phrase ‘looking for someone who is technologically savvy’ made them feel like they wouldn’t fit well with the company. Conversely, the research found that using language which appealed more broadly to older applicants did not deter younger applicants. In addition, the inclusion of benefits such as generous pension contribution and flexible working opportunities made older workers more likely to apply.
According to the Centre for Ageing Better, despite many employers stating diversity and inclusion were important to them, few have strategies or approaches specifically aimed at making the recruitment process more diverse and inclusive in the context of age. Previous research by Ageing Better also found that ageism in the recruitment process has a profound impact on older jobseekers, with over a third of people in their 50s and 60s feeling at a disadvantage in applying for jobs.
Employers need to ensure that the whole of their recruitment process is inclusive of all ages, or they risk missing out on the skills and experience of older workers. But they also warn that age-inclusive job adverts are not a panacea, and fully addressing ageism in recruitment requires a range of other actions.