SMEs wary of taking on senior workers

Many small business leaders have reservations about hiring staff over 60, finds research from SmallBusiness.co.uk.


Many small business leaders have reservations about hiring staff over 60, finds research from SmallBusiness.co.uk.

Many small business leaders have reservations about hiring staff over 60, finds research from SmallBusiness.co.uk.

A quarter of the 669 UK business owners surveyed say that they would not hire someone over the age of 60. A further 15 per cent would ‘maybe’ take on an older worker while 6 per cent would only do so if the employee was part-time.

Refusing to hire a person based on their age is unlawful under age discrimination regulations.

Peter Barnett, CEO of business strategy advisors Sales Managed, says: ‘Many employers have reservations that older people would be set in their ways. Some managers want their employees to do things their way and they see younger people as more ready to conform.’

Juan Lobato, founder of website building firm Basekit, comments: ‘A factor for managers could be how much energy the person has, as energy can decrease with age.’

Decisions not to hire people over 60 can also be influenced by industry.

Lobato adds, ‘Coding or writing software in more technological companies may not suit older people due to some of the more recent techniques being more familiar to younger programmers in general.’

However, some 52 per cent of respondents to the SmallBusiness poll responded “yes” to the question, “Would you hire someone over 60?”

Tony Goodwin, CEO of executive recruitment firm Antal International is one of those who sees value in experience: ‘Our oldest director is 57 and I’d definitely employ him for another 10 years. Why do we force people to retire at 65 when they have so much experience, knowledge and energy to give?’

Liz Iles, senior employment consultant at HR advisor Croner says, ‘There is a lot of uncertainty about how to deal with employees over 60 given the revoking of the retirement age. I would hope the [response to the poll] reflects that uncertainty rather than a direct wish to discriminate against the older employee.’

Related Topics

Leave a comment