A fifth of over-55's have felt discriminated against at work


  • 19% of over-55s have felt discriminated against at work because of their age.

  • Flexi-working, more part-time opportunities and workplace benefits cited as top measures to support and attract an older workforce

Nearly one fifth (19%) of UK adults over the age of 55 have felt discriminated against at work due to their age, research1 from Canada Life today reveals. By contrast, two fifths (40%) of UK adults aged 18-34 feel their own career progression has been limited due to older employees who have senior positions or have spent more time at the company.

Four fifths (80%) of over-55s who think they will work beyond their state pension age believe they are likely to stay in the same role - either because they like their current job / role (36%) or because it is what they know best (31%) However, across all UK adults who think they will work beyond their state pension age, about a third (32%) are likely to change roles due to wanting a complete change of pace (22%) and because their current role doesn’t pay well enough (22%).

How employers can support their ageing workforce

However, with over two fifths of workers (44%) expecting to work beyond their state pension age, employers will need to ensure they are creating a workplace where employees of all ages can succeed.

UK adults say that flexible working (83%) is the most important asset an employer can offer to support and attract an older workforce. This was closely followed by having more part-time opportunities (82%) and appropriate workplace benefits (79%). A similar number (77%) feel anti-age discrimination policies would help retain an ageing workforce, while 76% are looking for new skills training.

Dan Crook, Protection Sales Director at Canada Life comments:

“As society continues to evolve, so will our workforce. While we’ve already seen the emergence of the gig economy and a rise in self-employment, the workplace has yet to fully adapt to meet the needs of older employees.

“With one in five over-55s feeling discriminated against at work, employers have a duty of care to create an environment where workers of all ages feel included and thrive. Employers will benefit from carefully considering how they can nurture a diverse workforce. Having employees of all ages will not only create an environment in which workers can share skills and experiences, it will bring different perspectives to the table too.”

1.      Source: Research carried out by Opinium among 2000 UK adults between 10-14 September 2021.