Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Dispatches programme on February 9th Channel 4

Do have a look at this programme " Too old to work" made with assistance from TAEN.

Dispatches reveals the ageism still rife amongst employers and recruitment agencies.

The investigation reveals that being 'older' - even just over 45-years-old - is a risk in the workplace. Older workers are more likely to lose their jobs and fail to secure another position. Dispatches looks at the challenges facing older job seekers and how the mandatory retirement age, introduced in 2006, has forced tens of thousands out of their positions, against their will. The film also features the results of two exclusive You Gov surveys on attitudes towards older workers and the effects forced retirement can have on those still wanting to work

With the economic downturn, recruitment agencies are currently being flooded with applicants, but Dispatches questions whether the job market is a level playing field for job seekers of all ages. A former recruitment agency insider reveals the ageist practices within the industry and three professionals aged over 50 describe the ageism they have faced from recruitment agencies - from having their CV's 'lost in the system' to being talked out of applying for posts or being asked coded questions that relate to how 'dynamic' and 'energetic' they are.

To test whether recruitment agencies do discriminate against older candidates, Dispatches carries out an experiment - pitching two accountants, a 57-year-old father and his 25-year-old daughter, in a contest to see who can achieve the most offers of work via agencies. Martin Penny has 30 years of accounting experience whilst his daughter Tanne is still a trainee. They register with the same agencies and keep video diaries of their progress, recording their very different levels of success.

But whilst over-55s struggle to secure work, the programme reveals that job prospects are even direr for over 65s - many of whom have seen the value or their pensions and savings shrivel.

Dispatches meets people forced to retire, who break down into tears as they describe the damaging financial and psychological repercussions of being out of work. Their experiences echo the results of the specially-commissioned You Gov survey into the impact of forced retirement.

The programme reveals that the commonly-held prejudices against older people may be entirely misplaced because many have as active, if not more active brains than their younger counterparts. The film follows scientific testing of mental capacities of different age groups at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge. Using neural imaging, Professor Lorraine Tyler measures the brain activity of people aged 18 to 90. Her research contradicts the idea that older brains cannot function as well as younger ones - she explains how they adapt so well that they may even become stronger.

Dispatches also demonstrates, through physical fitness tests, that age is not necessarily an indicator of fitness or productivity. One energetic example is Celia Powis, a fitness instructor who was sacked when the council, her employer, discovered she was 70 - public support has seen her reinstated for a further year.

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