Ageism in the workplace: Older employees feel less supported than younger employees

  • 78% of 18-34 year-olds feel supported compared to 61% for those aged 55 and over
  • A third (35%) say they have either left a previous role or are considering doing so because of how they were treated by their employer
  • Most wanted benefits include, above industry average salaries / bonuses, private medical cover and discretionary bonuses 


Older workers are feeling less supported in the workplace than their younger colleagues, according to new research from Canada Life.1 The results show that 78% of 18-to-34-year-olds feel supported by their employer, however this figure drops to three in five (61%) among employees aged 55 and over.


This comes at a time when more than seven in 10 (72%) of UK employees say their workplace is supportive and looks after its employees. Worryingly, over a third of employees (35%) say they have either left a previous role because of how they were treated or are considering doing so in their current position. 


Expectation vs reality on benefits

When asked what benefits their employer provides or what they would like them to provide, around a third (34%) of UK employees say they would like their company to offer salaries or bonuses at or above the industry average. This was followed by private medical cover (29%) and discretionary bonuses for outstanding performance (24%). 


However, when asked what benefits they actually get, time off for family issues (44%), a supportive and caring line manager (36%) and mental health support (31%) were the benefits employees say they are offered. A quarter (25%) say they get salaries at or above the industry average, while just 15% get private medical cover, and the same amount get discretionary performance bonuses.


Dan Crook, Protection Sales Director, Canada Life, comments: “Ageism has existed in the workforce for some time, but these findings highlight that employers have yet to fully adapt to meet the needs of older employees. Add to this the exodus of older people from the workforce, there’s likely to be a significant brain drain which will ultimately impact UK PLC. 


“Supporting a workforce goes beyond just considering attracting talent, employers must consider how they can retain existing staff, no matter what their age. This support begins with the HR team, who must think about the employee benefits they can provide. By considering these benefits at an individual level, rather than a one size fits all approach, employers will be in a better position to engage, retain and support workers both now and in the future.”



  1. Source: research conducted by Opinium among 2000 UK adults between 10-13 May 2022.