My blog post today stemmed from an email I received this week regarding whether it is legal for a company to request your age during the recruitment process.
This got me thinking about the variety of sensitive information that people may be uncomfortable disclosing in an application form. So I’ve put together some facts about sensitive information, and how best to tackle it. Today’s topic is...
THE LAW: The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations, 2006.
From 1st October 2006, legislation outlawed age discrimination in employment and vocational training. The law covers all sectors of employment including public and private. Employers are no longer able to recruit, train, promote or retire people on the basis of age, unless it can be objectively justified.
You are under no obligation to disclose your age on your CV or at an interview. This is completely at your discretion.
This does not mean it is illegal for an employer to request your age or date of birth; the only legal requirement is that they do not discriminate based on this information.
A lot of jobs websites that will submit your CV to employers will ask for your age/date of birth. This is not used in any way as a means of filtering out too old/young candidates. Job sites often use this information purely from a marketing perspective, to gage the average age range of its users, in order to market their services effectively to jobseekers.
The only way age may inhibit your chance of gaining employment, is if the law requires you to be of a certain age. For example, a job which involves the serving of alcohol will not legally allow a person less than 18 years of age to be employed in this capacity.
People are reluctant to disclose age if they are older or younger than they believe is desired, but these preconceptions are unlikely to be what an employer is concerned with.
Jobseekers often think that if they are young, they will be overlooked as younger candidates inevitably have a lack of experience.
Jobseekers of a more mature age might think that the job market offers them less prospects. They may believe that companies are more interested in employing younger candidates, especially if you are nearing a retirement age or an age where you might leave to start a family etc.
Employers are trying to find the best people for their jobs. This is based on a candidate’s suitability for the role, not age.
There are many positive aspects that can be applied to the employment of both older and younger candidates.
More mature candidates may bring more experience to the table, be more likely to commit to the employment on a long term basis, be more adaptable to different workforces, etc.
Younger people have the advantage of being new and fresh to the job market, may have different ideas and approaches, be keen and quick to learn, etc.
There is no hard and fast rule to the age debate- you could choose not to disclose your age on your CV, but the chances are, an employer can guess from your experience as to what kind of age you are. The bottom line is; an employer will not and cannot make the decision of employment based on age. So whether you shout it from the rooftops, or take a more reserved approach, the main thing is to ensure that you have the right skills for the job in hand, and a good impression, whether 15 or 50, will go a long way.