The poll, by the Employers' Forum on Age and recruitment firm Austin Knight, showed that workers in some professions are getting older. Judges and court officers are getting "dramatically" older, with a third aged between 55 and 69, compared with just one in 10 six years ago.
The number of software engineers over the age of 40 has increased from 25 per cent to 36 per cent in the same period. The myth that policemen are getting younger is also exploded by the research, which concluded that police forces are keeping track with demographic changes in society. Last year one in four policemen in lower ranks were aged under the age of 29, compared to one in three in 1991.
The research showed a huge decline in the number of piano tuners, down from 7,089 to 3,281 between 1991 and 1996, but a 4,000 increase in the number of undertakers, up to 9,925 over the same period.