A report that more than half of people over 50 feel marginalised in the employment market should be of concern to us all – but no surprise.
A look around some our most respected institutions – the Government included – clearly shows that youth is stealing a march over experience in many walks of life.
And as the economic situation worsens – or remains steadfastly in the doldrums – the situation could realistically get even worse.
The Government’s drive to get 50 per cent of school-leavers into further and higher education has been relatively successful in recent years but the trouble is that the additional thousands are now flooding into a job market that doesn’t currently have enough capacity to absorb all these new graduates.
However, the advantage that these young graduates have over their older counterparts is that those companies that are recruiting are being driven by one over-riding factor – cost. Whichever way one looks at it, youth comes a good deal cheaper than experience.
The reality is however that this is an attitude that seems to be increasingly out of step with the feelings of the public at large. Take the world of politics for instance – all the main parties have obsessed in recent years about ensuring their leader enjoys the right credentials to attract the youth vote but when things began to get a little sticky for the Conservative Party, it was not a fresh-faced acolyte they turned to but grandee Ken Clarke. Indeed the myth that the digital age will see young people taking over the world was dispelled this week after it was revealed that the vast majority of users of social networking innovations such as Twitter are in their 30s and 40s.
And should any further evidence be needed that youth is not always the answer to every employer’s prayers, just tune into the BBC’s Apprentice to discover that when it comes to the crunch, some of the most vaunted of 20-somethings could not even be trusted to run a bath.