Insurance company SunLife has published the results of research into age discrimination in the UK.

Age discrimination in the workplace

Four in ten people said that, since turning 50, they had experienced age discrimination.

Hiring was the most common area where people believed they had experienced it, with 62% believing they had missed out on a job because of their age.

Almost half of respondents believed that they had been overlooked for a promotion because of their age.

Almost a third believe they have witnessed someone else being subjected to age discrimination, whilst 28% believe that age discrimination is more common than ever before.

Half (51%) of respondents to the survey believed that men and women face discrimination similarly, but 34% believe it is an issue that women are more affected by than men.

The results of the survey also suggest that older workers may feel an intergenerational divide: 11% of over 50s felt isolated and left out of team exercises and social events.

Additionally, one in ten have had colleagues make negative remarks about their age, whilst one in twenty even said they felt they were encouraged, or forced, to retire.

Age discrimination is still a real challenge facing many people over 50 because of outdated stereotypes and ignorance. In reality, many over 50s are far from this pre-conceived idea some areas of society still seem to have of them.
— SunLife marketing director Ian Atkinson

Age discrimination outside of the workplace

SunLife’s research also highlighted where individuals find themselves subjected to age discrimination outside of the workplace:

  • 1 in 20 have been asked if they are lost when looking at clothes more typically bought by younger people.
  • Almost 1 in 4 have been ignored while waiting or queuing for something
  • 1 in 3 have been spoken to unnecessarily slowly
  • Around 1 in 6 have been called a nickname such as “grandma” or “old man”.
  • 1 in 20 have had someone communicate to them through a younger person they are with rather than directly.
  • More than 1 in 3 feel they have missed out on being invited to social events due to their age
  • Half of over 50s also feel ignored by brands and advertisers.