LETTER: Age discrimination at work

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From Ms Jo Gardiner

Sir: Figures from the Unemployment Unit, revealing a doubling in the number of long-term unemployed aged 25-49, are a cause for concern on three counts (In Brief, 8 February). First, because of the waste of talent and productivity resulting from the growth in mid-life unemployment. Second, because employers should be selecting the right person for the job, whatever his or her age, not rejecting certain age groups as "too expensive" to employ. And third, because recovery in the wider economy is not helped by reducing the spending power of former or potential earners.

Best practice in recruitment and promotion depends on relevant selection criteria, based on candidates' skills, abilities and qualifications rather than their age. The Private Members' Bill attempting to ban upper-age limits in job advertisements is pushing the age discrimination debate further up the employment agenda.

Yours faithfully,

Jo Gardiner

The Industrial Society

London, W1