A million unemployed older people is an “unacceptable” waste of talent, warn MPs

23rd July 2018

A million unemployed older people is an “unacceptable” waste of talent, warn MPs

MPs have warned that too little is being done to enforce age discrimination law, with more than a million people over 50 unemployed but willing to work if given the opportunity.

An inquiry conducted by the Women and Equalities Committee has called on the Government to do more to combat prejudice, unconscious bias and casual ageism in the workplace, claiming the current situation is “alarming and unacceptable”.

MPs recommend audits on the age profile of workforces, following the introduction of gender pay gap reporting to challenge discrimination, to ensure the talents of those aged 50 or older are not being wasted.

“It is unacceptable that the nation is wasting the talents of more than one million people aged over 50 who are out of work but would be willing to work if the right opportunity arose,” the committee’s report states.

“People in later life are often playing many different roles in society, but those who wish to work should not face the current barriers of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices.

“Too little is being done to enforce the law. Neither the Government or the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), with its considerable enforcement powers, are intervening in the recruitment sector where so much of the evidence demonstrates unlawful ways of working.

“The public sector struggles to retain older workers when it should be leading the way, but the EHRC is not investigating whether the public sector equality duty is being met. We want it to do so.”

The report recommends that recruitment agencies accept greater responsibility by collecting data on where older workers are being excluded and developing a plan of action to remove discrimination from the recruitment process.

It also urges a mandatory approach to flexible working, adding: “We recommend that flexible working be the default from the time jobs are advertised onwards. Many older workers often take on a range of caring responsibilities.”

Committee chair Maria Miller said: “Age discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem, as many older people have discovered.

“Yet despite it being unlawful for more than a decade, the scale and lack of enforcement uncovered by our inquiry are both alarming and totally unacceptable.”

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said age discrimination was “still rife”, with 36 per cent of 55-64-year-olds feeling like they’ve been disadvantaged or treated negatively because they were perceived as being older.

How can Gotelee help?

If you think you have been discriminated against at work, get in touch.

Our team of specialist employment solicitors have considerable experience in dealing with sensitive issues of this kind in a tactful and understanding way. We can help you through the grievance process and provide advice and support every step of the way.

Our early intervention may mean you can resolve the issue and continue in your job. Alternatively, we can help you pursue your case at an employment tribunal to ensure you are properly compensated. We’ll guide you through the complexities of making a claim so that you achieve the best outcome as quickly as possible.

To find out more, visit us at one of our offices in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Hadleigh and Woodbridge or call us on 01473 298126.

Blog Posts

What not to forget as BREXIT progresses


The Health & Safety Executive website informs us that in preparation for BREXIT the…

Read More
Upcoming Events

Managing the workforce in 2019


If you employ staff or have responsibility for HR, Gotelee Solicitor’s annual employment law…

Read More
News Posts

Put me ‘on hold’ please…


Gotelee Solicitors has devised a unique way to support young, local musicians and improve…

Read More


"Jade Shelton was absolutely fantastic!! Professional and proactive at all times."

- JH

"Prompt, helpful, polite and very professional service"


"We were very pleased to have Jade as our solicitor, the service was excellent and we felt kept in the loop which minimised stress"

- CT

"The ease that we could access and speak to Pat Smith - Thank you"


"I have used Tracey Laflin at Gotelee on a number of occasions and in my opinion, she is simply the most efficient conveyancing solicitor I have ever worked with. From the outset, she took the time to understand my specific business requirements and to date, she has exceeded all of my expectations."

- Dale Fiddy - Portobello Developments Ltd

"Domini was very fast and efficient in carrying out her work for me - she was also very good at explaining things to me"


"I don't think this house sale would have pulled together without Jo's determination and expertise. Excellent!"

- MT

"Approachable, very efficient, always willing to take my calls and update me."

- SH

"I would like to say thank you for your help, support and guidance over the last two and a half years. Obviously should I need further assistance in the future I shall not hesitate to call you guys."


"“ This is the second time we have used Tracey for the conveyancing to buy our new home. She is always completely approachable, she has helped us along the way with advice and useful tips that has helped lessen the stress. We have complete confidence in her and would not hesitate to recommend her to our friends and family”.  - Peter Dawes, Cater Dawes Financial Planning "


Please select preferred method of contact

* We will only contact you by telephone if you select this as primary form of contact. All web enquiries will be stored on our website for 30 days.