The recent election of David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party is being seen by many as a choice of youth and ambition over age and experience - the very opposite, some would argue, of what the new anti-ageism laws, due in October this year, are trying to encourage, it was claimed today.
But, according to research by Leamington Spa-based accountancy recruitment firm Nigel Lynn, it is not just the over forties who bear the brunt of ageism.
It says finance staff as young as twenty are also feeling the effects.
The snapshot survey asked 158 accounting staff in their twenties whether they ever felt that they had been discriminated against in the workplace because of their age. More than half (52 per cent) felt they had.
"It's just as big a problem for younger workers as it is for older," said one. "I've been passed over for promotion very recently. I was told that although I was perfectly capable of doing the job, the supervisory aspect needed someone who was a little older. If that's not age discrimination, I don't know what is."
Another respondent, a 21 year old accounts assistant, said: "I am thinking of having grey highlights put into my hair - my boss has told me that 'maturity is essential to success in business and a lot of our economic problems today stem from over-grown children in the banking sector who have no appreciation of long-term thinking."
Tony Bourne, partner and head of the employment unit at Glovers Solicitors, says such an attitude may well catch some people out. "This is potentially the biggest change in employment law since the Sex Discrimination Act in so much as it affects every single employee and potential employee.
"Much of the coverage so far has centred on discrimination against 'older' employees, but discrimination on the basis of age will be illegal."
Commenting on the survey, Steve Carter, managing director of Nigel Lynn, said: "It's an interesting trend that age discrimination in terms of the perceived 'older' worker seems to happen at job application stage while discrimination against youth is happening from within the employee's own organisation.
"At the end of the day age discrimination in any form is quite simply a waste of talent - and it's up to the recruitment industry to take a lead in debunking many of the traditional assumptions that underpin attitudes towards age and work."