One in three middle-aged workers feel they are unfairly treated at work because of their age, claims a new survey.
A fifth believe their age stops executives offering them promotion and bars their career development, while 19% feel younger colleagues are favoured ahead of them.
But despite this discrimination, older workers are not ready to retire, are more highly motivated because they enjoy going to work and are more likely to interact with colleagues.
The research by pension provider Aviva reveals that workers aged over 45 years old have a bank skills and experience that is valuable to an employer, but feel attitudes towards older workers force many to consider retirement too early.
Invaluable skills to share
Most workers in their 50s and 60s (73%) feel they share invaluable skills, experience and knowledge with colleagues, but the research shows that 16% of mid-life employees feel this is not valued by their employer.
Many employers share older worker concerns about age discrimination. Almost a fifth (19%) of employers said it was a main concern of theirs while 20% said they were concerned about how they will respond to the challenge of an ageing workforce.
With 10 million workers over the age of 50, the company is urging employers to put support in place for older workers that makes them feel valued in the workplace.
And this is forecast to grow to one in three workers over the next decade.
Age should not be a barrier
But although 90% of over 50s are in work, this falls to half of over 60s, which means companies are missing out on the skills and talents of huge numbers of workers.
Lindsey Rix, managing director of savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “Age should not be a barrier to opportunity – but our findings suggest employees are worried about age discrimination. We want to challenge this concern.
“Evolving social and workplace trends mean we must all be prepared for a more fluid working life. The mid-life population offers invaluable skills and experience that companies are potentially missing out on. Companies need to take action – not doing so risks a punishing labour shortage in the years to come and a huge waste of talent and potential.”