Main Report - Page 5 of 10
A construction worker may have worked for 35 years in the industry, he may have even been self employed, but now he is being asked for a CSCS card to apply for jobs. Sadly he will not get anywhere without this qualification. (Adviser comment Online Survey)
Many Advisers felt frustrated that they didn’t have the ability to always address these specific training and certification needs so as a result, in many cases, claimants were encouraged to broaden their job search into areas which required fewer, if any, certified qualifications.
Now we come to the part that makes a comparison between the younger and the older worker. Although age does not make that much difference in general speaking terms there are some qualities, and situations, that does favour the older worker in various ways.
Although a younger person can have good customer skills the older worker also has the advantage of experience in addition. They often have better interpersonal skills, were better at dealing with customers and had a broader knowledge of the products and services that the company provided.
Many people also say that it is often the case that older workers were much more reliable and flexible than younger employers, particularly when it came to organising shift patterns and holidays.
The reason given was that younger employees often had family commitments restricting their shifts such as taking their children to school, for example, while older workers would happily work evenings and had more flexibility in terms of annual leave arrangements.
There was however some concern voiced about the ability of older recruits lacking in I.T. skills and struggling with the I.T. based training for jobs that involved that area of work. A call centre employer, for example, noted that older recruits tended to be less confident in the training sessions, particularly when they felt out of their depth or were working alongside younger people. None of the employer respondents said that these concerns affected their recruitment and selection activities however.
When it came to the age factor Employer Recruitment Managers, (ERMs), provided some of the clearest insights into the complexities of perceived or actual age discrimination.
Once again a mixed picture of experience emerged, with many of the ERMs stating that employers only wanted to select the best person for the job and was not influenced by age. Other ERMs however said that some employers tended to be more discriminatory about younger claimants, who they considered to have low skills, little motivation and limited experience of work. However other issues emerged when the ERM’s were asked to discuss employer engagement and recruitment practice in a little more detail.
ERM’s said that employment agencies, (acting as the interface between employers and claimants), would often cherry pick younger claimants for key appointments. Agencies often worked on the assumption that employers have a preference for younger recruits and therefore will select younger people on that belief.
ERM’s also said that it is extremely difficult to prove whether or not an employer discriminates against older job seekers, particularly when so much of the selection process is based on competencies, previous experience and certified qualifications.
JOB CENTRES - A common theme to emerge from the claimant interviews, and was partially echoed by advisers, was the subject of older claimants having a dislike of jobcentre plus offices. This specifically was to do with older claimants initial reception that they received from staff.