Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 18 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:S3-7225
  • Good employment practice considers how well someone does the job rather than who they might happen to be. Ageism is arguably the last form of irrational prejudice to be exposed to scrutiny. According to one survey, about one in 10 employers still believes that workers over 30 are over the hill, and one quarter would not employ a 50 year old. The government has backed away from outlawing discrimination on grounds of age alone, however; instead, there is a voluntary code of practice. The code predictably presses for merit and competence to inform decisions in recruitment, training and redundancy rather than age. The guidance is silent on perhaps the most deeply ingrained ageism of them all: the compulsory retirement age. The pressure to change this as the population ages seems likely to increase. Sargeant M. Age discrimination in employment. London: Institute of Employment, 1999.