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Dr Brian Beach, Senior Research Fellow at ILC-UK and who gave oral evidence to the Committee, welcomes the Committee’s call for stronger action by Government and EHRC and says it’s crucial that employers understand what ageism really is.

He said: “Tackling ageism in the labour market and promoting age-friendly employment standards are vital steps to ensure that older people have the opportunities they want to work in later life. We support the committee’s call for stronger, clearer action by Government and EHRC to address this issue.

“However the role of employers remains crucial, and part of the problem stems from a lack of awareness of what ageism really is. Our report ‘Exploring Retirement Transitions’ highlighted that employers are aware of age discrimination legislation, yet some line managers are scared to talk to people about their retirement plans for fear of being accused of ageism - which is unhelpful for both employer and employee.”

"Older people are not a homogeneous group, and the Committee are right to call for the Government to commission research into the diversity among older people and their access to work opportunities. We are ready to work with other stakeholders to develop this evidence base.”

Notes to editors

The International Longevity Centre – UK’s report ‘Exploring retirement transitions’ was based on ESRC-funded research done by the Uncertain Futures Research Consortium. It found employers were aware of age discrimination legislation and there was little evidence of overt discrimination; however, the implications of the law were being interpreted very defensively with some unintended negative consequences. In particular, some line managers appeared to believe that it was difficult to talk to people about their retirement plans for fear of being accused of ageism. It is available at: 
http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/exploring_retirement_transitions

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