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Ageism – it looks like everyone has a beef with employers

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But, now, apparently, it’s also the over 40s that are finding it tough to get on in the workplace.

A survey by a law firm seemingly peddling its workplace discrimination services from the back end of last week revealed that a fifth of over 40s feel their careers are stalling because of their age.

Of the 2,000 people questioned, one in seven felt they were more likely to be overlooked for promotion than younger colleagues, while another 23 percent felt they had hit a ‘brick wall’ in their current job.

While I’m not quite sure of exactly how representative of the workforce this kind of surveys really is; it does suggest that pretty much everyone has a beef with employers. Which is no surprise, as it seems that apparently everyone’s either too young, too old or too middle aged!

Young people say they are overlooked because they don’t have any experience and without a job they can’t get experience. The over 60s claim ageist employers want youth over experience, which now seems to be a view shared by those in the 40-plus bracket.

Surely, they all can’t be right? But the fact is, to a degree, they all are. We all know, and are told by law, that no one should be discriminated against at work for their age or anything else. Unfortunately, since the dawn of employment, that hasn’t been the case.

And even in today’s increasingly litigious society it appears that in some, of course not all, businesses discrimination is alive and well.

Of course, that doesn’t happen at Pimlico Plumbers, but you’d expect me to say that. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

I am a consistent campaigner for giving young people the opportunities to gain experience by creating as many apprenticeships as I can. Also, 25 percent of my workforce is aged over 55 as older workers are a resource not to be ignored.

Jobs at Pimlico are filled by people that have the skills and aptitude to fit the role. It is a position that every business, and most do, stick to. That means that not everyone is successful in getting a job or promotion, but that’s life in the big, bad real world.

Perhaps we are just so used to hearing this sort of ‘woe is me’ language in surveys and social media posts, that it has become seen as the truth about how people are treated in the workplace, particularly from those already in work who are searching for the nirvana of ‘total job satisfaction’.

But instead of complaining about the firms that won’t advance their careers, they should put their efforts into making themselves more attractive to employers, which might give them the edge the next time they go for an interview or promotion.

Charlie Mullins is CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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