The rules, which are due to come into force on 1 October 2006, are designed to protect people from age discrimination when applying for jobs and when being considered for training and promotion.
The government also plans to encourage staff to continue working after the age of 65 by giving over-65s the same unfair dismissal and redundancy rights as younger workers.
"To thrive in a competitive market, British business increasingly bases its employment and training decisions on talent, not age," said trade and industry secretary, Alan Johnson. "Employers cannot afford to ignore the skills of any worker - young or old."
The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations, currently in draft form, will give employers a duty to consider applications from staff to carry on working after the normal state retirement age.