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Age discrimination 'alive and kicking' in accountancy

New research published by CareersInAudit (CIA) shows many UK accountants believe age discrimination is rife in their industry.

In its annual mid-year job market barometer, CIA asked 2,011 auditors and financial consultants if they think older people face barriers when rising up the corporate ladder and 57 per cent believed this to be the case.

More specifically, 48 per cent of respondents reported that personnel over the age of 40 find it hard to get promoted or get a new job in accountancy and 37 per cent of people in this category said they think they have missed out on career development because of how old they are.

Commenting on the research, CIA operations director Simon Wright said: "Whilst the industry needs to continually embrace new and recent graduates to the fold and train them up, accountants who have many more years of valuable experience should not be put out to pasture either.

"It is shocking in the 21st century that the majority of the profession believe age discrimination to be so prevalent. HR departments should be scrutinising their equality policies."

CIA's research also found nine per cent of over 40s did not get a promotion or job because they did not fit a corporate culture - signalling there may be entrenched, institutionalised barriers facing older personnel.

According to the study, the reason bosses prefer younger workers is their salary expectations are not as high and they are more inclined to put in longer hours, but this is not necessarily true and all applicants for roles should be considered on an equal basis - as is required by law.

There has been an increasing drive by some charities, including Age UK, to highlight problems older staff members face in the workplace. 

For example, the number of female TV presenters over the age of 60 remains shockingly low and activists are calling for a change in tack among broadcasting executives.

By Chris Stevenson