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director Ian Atkinson said: “Age discrimination is still a real challenge facing many people over 50 because of outdated stereotypes and ignorance.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