Most IT managers believe they have been discriminated against because of their age, according to a survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
Of the 160 IT managers who took part in the survey, 59% said they had been personally disadvantaged because of their age. Some 19% of respondents confirmed that they discriminated against people by considering age when recruiting people.
Employers will have to pay compensation to employees who bring successful age discrimination claims from 1 October 2006. The legislation is not retrospective.
Paul Callaghan, a partner specialising in employment at law firm Taylor Wessing, said, "The IT work force has a greater vulnerability because its age profile is younger than in other occupations. What IT employers have to be really careful of is writing things in interview notes, such as 'they [potential recruits] won't fit in here'."
Employers will be able to defend claims if they can prove that the employment decision was made for reasons other than age discrimination.
The respondents believed that women become "older employees" at an average age of 55. They also believed, however, that men become "older employees" at an average age of 57.
The age at which IT managers consider their employees to be old has risen since a CMI survey in 1995 asking the same question. In the earlier survey, IT managers considered men old at an average age of 51. Women were considered old at an average age of 48.
Dianah Worman, diversity adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which co-commissioned the research, said, "Our research shows that most managers expect everyone to be retiring later within 10 years - except themselves.
"It is good news that attitudes to older workers are changing, but individuals need to take a reality check on their expectations of their own retirement age."
Some 55% of survey respondents said they had suffered age discrimination through job applications and 38% believed they had been denied promotion because of it.
- Everybody has a right to sue for age discrimination.
- Employers must meet with employees who claim age discrimination.
- Employees may take claims to an industrial tribunal.