Although there are emerging signs that employers are changing their attitudes toward older workers as a result of increased awareness of age discrimination legislation, some say there is still some way to go to help employers appreciate the full extent of new laws introduced over the past few years.
It would seem that one particular area employers still seem to struggle with is that of recruitment advertising.
Looking at some recruitment advertisements in the press, simple and sometimes obvious mistakes are still being made. The language being used is proving a reliable indicator as to the level of understanding on the part of both employers and, where used, third party recruitment firms.
Recruitment advertising can be expensive in terms of money and time, and employers are urged to get their advertisements right first time. This will pay dividends in terms of cost effectiveness, attracting the right applicants for the job, and at the same time coping with the demands of legislation.
Irrespective of the introduction of the legislation, in most cases there is no rational reason for employers to discriminate on the basis of age.
There are now quite obvious words that should not be used – young, old, mature, older, younger. But there still seems to be no doubt that terminology such as ‘senior’ and ‘junior’ continue to cause problems.
It appears the terms ‘dynamic’, ‘energetic’, ‘potential’ and ‘keen’ continue to feature in advertising and consequently attract far more attention than deserved. Of course, while none of these terms can be deemed ‘ageist’ if used alone, when used together they can infer an underlying requirement for ‘youthfulness’ on the part of the recruiter.
Recruiters should focus on the job and the skills required to do the job rather than on the individual. It is all about recruiting an individual on the basis of what they can do and bring to the business, rather than what their date of birth might be.