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Kenneth Armitage
Posted on 18 Mar 2007 1:54 pm

According to figures produced for the report Pensions: Challenges and Choices (LTS Spring 2004), the number of people in employment beyond age 60 drops dramatically after age 56. Between the ages of 24 and 56 statistics show that 85% of males are in employment and, with some fluctuations presumably that take account of average child-bearing years, between 68% and 80% of women. At age 56 the number of males in employment drops dramatically to 60% by age 60 and for women it drops to 40% by age 60. And according to the ONS there are just under 8 million people of working age who are economically inactive - of these 2.3 million are looking after family, 2.2 million are long-term sick and 1.7 million are students in some for of education programme. That still leaves 1.7 million people of working age, many over age 50, who are inactive because they are unable to gain appropriate and meaningful employment, allegedly because of ageism or ageist attitude in UK Plc. Academic studies have shown that “Ageism is the most common form of discrimination in the UK”, and that, “Of all the individual instances of discrimination, 41% relate to age; this rises to 56% of all instances of discrimination for people over 55.” A study conducted by the University of Kent in 2005 found that, “Ageism is the most widely experienced form of prejudice in Britain." This is supported by the information contained in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to work for 2007, including the 20 Best Big Companies to work for 2007 (mostly Financial and Professional service companies). In the Best 20 companies 70% had an average age under 35 and the other 30% had an average age under 40; and, in the Best 100 companies to work for 59% had an average age under 35 and the other 41% had an average age under 45. Perhaps this is one reason why there is pressure on pension schemes, the fact that too many companies remove many older workers as they approach 50 or 55 or 60.

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