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Financial services has a third fewer 50+ workers than overall economy

EMW says only 22% of financial services workers are aged over 50, compared to an average of 29% of workers across the UK workforce as a whole* (see chart below).

EMW explains that disgruntled former employees or rejected job applicants could use statistics of this type as part of a tribunal case against an employer, in an attempt to prove that older staff were pushed out, not offered promotion opportunities, or denied employment.

There have been a number of successful high-profile age discrimination claims lodged by older staff against banks in recent years, including that of retail analyst Tony Shiret – known as & lsquo;the godfather of retail’ – who won a claim against former employer Credit Suisse in 2013.

Financial services companies lagging rest of economy in representation of workers aged 50

Jon Taylor, Principal at EMW, said, “Claimants at employment tribunals have certainly been known to use statistics of this type to bolster their claims, and suggest an inherent age bias within a sector.”

“For a lot of businesses, dealing with claims of this type can be a significant drain on management time, and some come to the conclusion that settling a claim before a tribunal is preferable to fighting it, even if it is meritless.

“Financial services businesses already have to tread a very fine line when it comes to laying off older staff. Any & lsquo;points’ systems identifying which staff are selected for redundancy programmes needs to be very carefully designed to ensure that age could not be perceived as a factor.

“The use of language in job advertisements is also critical. If a business states that a job would suit a new graduate or someone without a lot of experience, or even that a workplace is fast-moving or lively, that can form the basis of an age discrimination claim.”

EMW adds that the only sector with a smaller proportion of workers over 50 is the hospitality sector, which employs the largest proportion of 18-24 year olds. The sectors with the highest proportion of older workers are transport and education, both of which have highly-unionised workforces, and in the case of education, recruit almost exclusively at graduate level and above.

* Sources: Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Office of National Statistics


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