New research shows Norfolk bosses would rather not hire Millennials
PUBLISHED: 10:50 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:50 20 November 2019
Businesses in the East of England are reportedly turning their backs on Millennial staff in favour of more experienced candidates.
According to independent surveyors Censuswide, more than twice as many business owners in the East of England would choose to recruit an older worker than a younger candidate - despite having the same skills and experience.
Nationally 36% of SME owners said they would rather recruit a 55-year-old than a Millennial - but this figure rose to 40% in the East of England.
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The reasons given ranged from Millennials having lower productivity and higher absence rates.
Owners also said that Millennial candidates also tended to have a poorer grasp of the English language.
However lawyers in the region have highlighted that discrimination against 'snowflakes' is not only illegal, but is commercially backward.
James Kidd, an employment partner at Mills & Reeve, said: "Age is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, so it naturally follows that to discriminate against an entire generation based on a perception that they are 'snowflakes' is unlawful at any point of the employment relationship, including at recruitment stage."
Mr Kidd, whose firm works nationally but has a major hub in Norwich, went on: "To demonstrate the point further, you would hopefully feel uncomfortable stating that you would not recruit a baby boomer as they would be 'unable to embrace the technology' at your organisation.
"Discrimination legislation is there to protect all employees, boomer and millennial alike.
He added that having diversity on a team is "key to a successful business model and having a variety of generations within a team is invaluable."
He finished: "Recruiting from just one age group without good reason is always going to be akin to playing catch with a double-bladed lightsaber, in other words very risky!"
It is for this reason that Cooper Lomaz Recruitment, based in Norwich, Colchester and Bury St Edmunds, do everything they can to stamp out ageism.
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David Smilie (inset left), lead consultant at Cooper Lopaz, said: "It's really important to us as a company that we play a part in eliminating ageism. Our screening process removes any mention of age so if an employer were to ask or comment on a candidates age, we would not be in a position to comment.
"This means that if a candidate were to reach an interview stage they would have the best possible chance of being successful regardless of whether they're Gen Z, Millennial, or Baby-boomer."
He went on: "Age is just a number. It has no reflection on a candidate's character, abilities or experience."
His sentiments were echoed by Andy Almond (inset left), director of Langham Recruitment which has offices in Norwich and Manchester.
Mr Almond said that businesses may shun Millennial candidates because younger employees may be perceived as wanting to have more flexible working hours.
However he said that this was merely a reflection of a work culture that needed to "move with the times".
He said: "We don't see clients specifically asking for older candidates - I think because they would know not to - so it's not a problem we've had."
Mr Almond and his team specifically work in the technology, engineering and electronics sector, meaning they deal with a lot of start-ups.
It is in this area where Mr Almond can see older candidates are sought after.
He explained: "In the start-up sector experience really is vital. New businesses may have a great proposition but they may have no idea how to get it to market or run a business.
"It's because of this that an older candidate may be more attractive, because they have more experience and may have brought a number of products to market."
He went on: "In Norwich specifically this is more acute because we have a skill shortage with a lot of younger people leaving the area for Cambridge or London.
"However with the older generation it's the other way around, we have people coming up to Norfolk looking for their last job ahead of retirement, so the pool to choose from in that age bracket is much bigger."
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