44% of older workers lie about their age when looking for a job

Woman working at a laptop and desk


A new survey run by workingwise.co.uk for National Older Workers Week 2021 reveals the challenges that older workers are experiencing due to ageism in the workplace, including that almost half lie about their age when applying for jobs.

The research, from 2,000 older workers (aged 45+) has uncovered that in order to be considered for employment, almost half (44%) of respondents admitted to altering their age on their CV to apply for a role, and one in three (34%) of older workers have experienced ageism in the interview process for a role.

The research has shone a light on ageism in the workplace and uncovered that the hiring process for older workers is severely flawed. The top area where there is most perceived ageism is in the applications process, where 55% felt the applications process did not speak to their age group. This was followed by the interview process, where 34% had experienced ageism first-hand, as they were interviewed for the role.

Statistics Infographic

What do older workers want?

So what is important to older workers? Well, 95% said that a good work-life balance was important, followed by 85% who said that job security was important. These priorities have changed over the years – 76% of older workers said that they want a better work-life balance than they did when they were younger,  and 57% explained that the workplace environment is more important to them now than it used to be. 39% of older workers say that flexible working is now a deal-breaker.

Support for older workers

86% of respondents said they have not been promoted in the last five years and 54% have had no access to training recently.  30% of respondents said this is because training is mainly aimed at young people in their organisation and 11% said it is because it is mostly reserved for full-time workers. Nevertheless, 85% are open to learning new skills. However, when it comes to the kind of soft skills much sought after by employers which are based on life experience, 75% felt these were not valued enough by employers.

Infographic 75% say soft skills are not valued enough by employers

Our research has unveiled the blatant ageism that is alive and kicking in the recruitment of older workers. Times have changed significantly, we are living and working for longer, and our pensions are getting pushed back too – and yet the cards are stacked against older workers who are trying to get back in.

Gillian Nissim, founder of WM People & workingwise.co.uk


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