Recruiters & Age Discrimination - A Reader's View

Here's a post sent in by one of our readers on the subject of age discrimination:

'Recruiters should never really be in a position to make judgements with respect to age (or anything else for that matter). For most roles recruiters work on, age is totally irrelevant to the ability of a candidate to do the job. The reasons for age discrimination, especially in the City, are complex - and often hidden away. Sometimes it's down to the initial screening being passed to an on-site recruiter, or an internal recruitment function - staffed by people who often know little about the job functions in their firms. And they need to screen candidates based on some criteria - age being a simple one for them. Sometimes, of course, the firm desires a hip corporate image, and wants to seen as youthful and happening - even if that means hiring employees who may prove to be incompetent and / or reckless.

My guess also is that a major contributor in the age discrimination stakes has been the consolidation in the industry. In many cases it has been the older (and more expensive) folks who were let go first, making others managers at a younger age. Many of these new managers, for whatever reason, seem to be reluctant to hire people older than themselves.

Employers, of course, should make a commitment to root out discrimination. And, as a first step, they should undertake to interview a true cross-section of candidates for every open position. They should make every effort to hire across the board. And they should also take care not take the easy option, and cull all experienced, or senior, personnel during the next round of downsizing.

Are recruiters running scared about age discrimination ? One hopes so - but so should employers - as much of the mindset comes from them in the first place'.

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