Nearly three quarters (72.4 percent) of IT professionals believe people over forty can progress up the career ladder according to research carried out by online recruitment specialist www.theitjobboard.com This compares to a positive response from only half (50.3 percent) the participants in the company’s 2006 survey. It is also despite only a small increase in the proportion of people being aware of last year’s legislation outlawing ageism in the workplace (68.2 percent in 2007 compared to 62.1 percent in 2006).
www.theitjobboard.com is hopeful that, as well as being good news for IT professionals, the findings will send out a positive message from the technology industry, which is traditionally seen to be the domain of younger workers.
Alex Farrell, director at www.theitjobboard.com, comments: There are varied reports about how effective legislation had been at reducing ageism in the workplace. But our research would suggest the IT sector has taken heed and recognised the benefits that older workers bring to organisations. These include experience that tends to increase people and management skills, but also technical ability such as being better equipped to deal with legacy systems.
www.theitjobboard.com also believes that better career prospects for older people has the potential to go some way to helping the sector cope with the skills crisis that still threatens it. Farrell explains: The lack of skilled IT professionals is a constant cause for concern in the industry and, whilst the findings of our most recent research are no reason to be complacent, they do offer a part solution to the problem.
As well as ensuring that older workers feel valued, the sector needs to do everything it can to encourage complete diversity throughout the workforce in recognition that anyone with the right skills has a role to play, regardless of their age, race or gender.
The survey is part of a regular research programme undertaken by www.theitjobboard.com to understand the issues behind the trends in the IT recruitment marketplace. It comes a year after the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, which made it illegal for organisations to discriminate on the grounds of age and affects recruitment, training, promotion, redundancy, retirement, pay and pension provision.
www.theitjobboard.com also carried out research in August and September 2006 to monitor experience of and attitudes to ageism in the UK before legislation was introduced. It also commissioned two guides: ‘Top 10 tips for avoiding age discrimination’ aimed at employers and providing straightforward information to ensure they understood the implications of the new legislation. ‘Top 10 tips to help candidates avoid age discrimination’ offers practical advice on how IT professionals can make the law work for them.