Employers' attitudes, practices and policies towards older workers


Wendy Loretto, The Management School and Economics, The University of Edinburgh, William Robertson Building, 50 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JY. Email: W.Loretto@ed.ac.uk


Despite policy emphasis on the importance of older workers (i.e. those aged 50 and above) to current and future labour markets, relatively little is known about the ways in which employers' attitudes, policies and practices influence their recruitment and retention. Drawing upon previous work by Taylor and Walker, this article reports qualitative research among employers across Scotland, which sought to investigate further the relationships between employers' policies, practices and attitudes towards older workers. The findings indicate a complex set of relationships, and challenge the simplistic causal link between attitudes and practice. The conclusions discuss the implications of these findings for the future employment of older workers, and assess the extent to which the forthcoming age discrimination legislation in the UK is likely to tackle discriminatory attitudes, practices and policies.