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  • 6th Sep 2023

New tools to reduce age bias in recruitment

Older workers (aged 50 and over) make up approximately one third of the workforce, yet face numerous disadvantages during the recruitment process. There are currently over 219,000 more workers aged 50-64 who are economically inactive (no longer working) than before the pandemic. At the same time, employers face skills and labour shortages leading to a higher number of vacancies than before the pandemic, yet older workers face bias and are regularly overlooked

We worked with the Centre for Ageing Better to develop solutions for age bias in recruitment as part of the Good Recruitment for Older Workers (GROW) programme. Today the report summarising our research and practical toolkit for employers are published. 



What did we do?

We set up a working group of 16 employers and recruiters from organisations representing a range of sectors and sizes. The working group brought essential expertise and experience to make sure that the solutions are feasible for hiring in practice.

Employer and recruiter partners in the programme

Together we developed the solutions through a prototyping process. This involved creating initial basic versions of the solutions and trying them out in practice, updating them based on feedback to create more developed versions and iterating the process. Across 38 sessions, employers, recruiters, hiring managers, line managers and older workers provided their feedback to develop the final tools. 

Our final three tools

1) Create an inclusive job advert

The job advert template helps employers and recruiters create new or adapt existing job adverts to be more age-friendly. The template includes nine pieces of advice for how to make the job advert more inclusive, such as advertising specific flexible working arrangements, removing biased language and advertising workplace adjustments. Advice is illustrated with example text that employers can copy and paste, or they can download a blank template to create a job advert from scratch. 

Snapshot of the inclusive job advert tool 

2) Create an interview invitation and scheduling form

Older workers are more likely to be disabled and/or have long-term health conditions and so this tool aims to help candidates feel more comfortable asking for adjustments during recruitment. The tool makes it easier for employers to provide any adjustments they are willing to make, but often communicate poorly. For candidates, especially older workers, it provides information that helps them better prepare for the interview, identify the adjustments available and request them in a way that is less stigmatised.

Snapshot of the scheduling form tool

3) How to talk about flexible working with candidates during recruitment

Older workers are more likely to work part-time and wish to work fewer hours than they currently do. They are more likely to be disabled and have as many or more caring responsibilities than younger age groups. This tool provides guidance to employers about how to discuss flexible working during the recruitment process and, thus, benefits older workers by reducing discrimination against flexible workers. It includes four recommendations:

  1. Discuss and decide possible working patterns internally
  2. Add the available working pattern details to your job advert
  3. Do not ask about working pattern preferences until you make an offer
  4. Monitor flexible working pattern preferences 

Snapshot of the guidance on how to talk about flexible working during recruitment

What next?

Now that the tools are available and have been designed to ensure they are feasible, we need to understand the impact they have on age bias in recruitment. Do they increase the likelihood that older workers are hired? We would love to work with employers, recruiters or a job platform to find out.

Get in touch with if you would like to work with us.