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Age of discrimination: Millions of over 50s have lost out on a job because of their age

Posted on 21 March 2017

SunLife study finds four in ten people have experienced discrimination at work, in shops or even at GP’s surgery since turning 50

Millions of over 50s have suffered age discrimination at work, in shops and even in ?their local GP's surgery, according to the latest research from SunLife.

Since turning 50, almost four in ten people said in their opinion they had experienced some kind of age discrimination with 62% of those believing they have lost out on a job because of it, the UK’s biggest-ever study into life after 50 has found.

One respondent was told by a recruitment agency it would be ‘difficult to place her’ due to her age, while another asked to be put? on a course only to be told by their employer they would rather give it to someone younger to get ‘better value’.

As a result of their age, almost half believe they have been overlooked for promotion, 50% feel ignored by shop staff and three in ten think their GP treats them differently than when they were younger.

SunLife’s interviewed 50,0000 over 50s as part of its new Welcome to Life After 50 campaign and also found the work place is most likely to be the scene of age discrimination, followed by shops, while driving, in bars and restaurants and on public transport.

SunLife marketing director Ian Atkinson said: “Age discrimination is still a real challenge facing many people over 50 because of outdated stereotypes and ignorance.

“In reality, many over 50s are far from this pre-conceived idea some areas of society still seem to have of them.

“It’s also surprising, in a way, that we discriminate against a group we all hope we’ll one day join!

“50 is definitely not ‘old’, and with life expectancy (and retirement age) rising year on year, life after 50 certainly doesn’t mean the need to slow down or ‘take it easy’ – and more brands and businesses need to realise that.”

Sunlife’s research also found that as well as experiencing age discrimination themselves, almost a third believe they have witnessed someone else being subjected to it.

And 28% think age discrimination is more common than ever before.

And while 51% feel both men and women equally face discrimination, 34% believe it is something which affects women more than men.

After turning 50, 11% said they felt isolated and left out of team bonding exercises, social events and meetings at work while one in ten have faced negative remarks about their age from colleagues.

One in twenty even said they felt they were encouraged, or forced, to retire.

But it’s not just the workplace where over 50s are feeling discriminated due to their age with one in twenty being asked if they are lost when looking at clothes not necessarily aimed at older people.

Almost one in four have been ignored while waiting or queuing for something, a third have been spoken to unnecessarily slowly and around one in six have been called a nickname such as grandma or old man.

One in twenty have even had someone communicate to them through a younger person they are with rather than directly.

More than a third also feel they have missed out on being invited to social events due to their age while 14% think they have been turned down for a loan or credit agreement for no other reason than how old they are.

Half of over 50s also feel ignored by brands and advertisers.

SunLife’s Ian Atkinson added: “Far from winding down, people over 50 are busier than ever, trying new things or taking up new hobbies and just generally living life to the full. But they feel discriminated against and stereotyped.

“Nine out of ten over 50s say brands aren’t interested in them, and three quarters feel the portrayal of over 50s in the media is an outdated stereotype that does not represent them.

“So, with our new campaign Welcome to Life After 50, we are showing what life after 50 is really like and celebrating what is for many, the best time of their lives.”

Top five places for age discrimination

  1. In the work place
  2. While out shopping
  3. While driving
  4. While eating out at pubs, restaurants and bars
  5. On public transport

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Ltd which is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.