One of the most important changes to workplace legislation comes into effect next year when the Government introduces new age diversity laws.
For the recruitment industry - and all those involved in HR and personnel issues - this will be a crucially important time. Although the new legislation on age diversity does not come into effect until October 2006, a number of preparatory measures are already underway at both a Governmental and company level.
From next year, the Government will be looking to involve all stakeholders and representative bodies in raising awareness of the forthcoming changes.
Both private and public sector organisations have already begun implementing substantial training and information-raising initiatives on the issue of age discrimination
For example, organisations such as Barclays Bank have already rolled out a group-wide training programme for line managers on the issue of age diversity. This training is delivered internally, although external consultants are brought in for 'role playing' activities. Interestingly, Barclays have raised their retirement age up to 70 (instead of 60 as was the case previously).
Companies are increasingly using positive diversity messages in their recruitment advertising, for example, 'we will judge applicants on ability and nothing else' rather than more static messages such as 'we are an equality opportunity employer'.
One of the main implications of the new legislation will be the need to be very careful in the wording of adverts and selection criteria. For example, demanding that an applicant has a number of years experience could be seen as discriminatory unless there is real justification for it.
Companies are seeking to be more innovative where recruitment adverts are placed. For example, a number or organisations mentioned advertising vacancies in 'Maturity Works' magazine.
Attention is also being given to the language used to define particular job roles. For example, one company was able to attract a much more diverse range of applicants by advertising for 'customer service advisors' rather than 'sales and services advisors'.
Acorn Recruitment & Training is committed to playing a leading role on this issue, and on within the Diversity agenda in general,
We are urging all our clients of the importance of keeping up-to-date with recent developments and to start reviewing current practices with regards to age discrimination.
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