A report on older workers commissioned by the British government concludes that that nation’s economy would benefit from “taking better advantage of the skills and experience of our more senior workers.” There are many reasons older workers are not staying with their careers longer, but one of the most disturbing findings is that many women see their career development stall at age 45.

“Older women face particular barriers in the workplace. For example, I have been told that talent progression for women stops around age 45,” writes Dr. Ros Altmann (shown above), who was given the title Business Champion for Older Workers and asked to direct the study. “After that, the attitudes in the workplace usually change (for men it is said to be around age 55). This is also evident in the media, where older women are far less likely to be retained as main

Over-50 workers can have careers shortened due to outmoded skills, inadequate up-to-date qualifications, health problems, a need to care for elderly family and other problems. But “outdated stereotypes, unconscious bias and age discrimination all contribute to preventing older peole from staying in or returning to work,” according to the report, “A New Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit.”

Dr. Altmann’s report calls for changes “to overcome the many barriers to later life working” that the report outlines. Among her recommendations is development of an “Age Confident” similar to the “Disability Confident” program that she says has re-educated employers about hiring disabled individuals.

You can read the complete report here. Do you think it’s assessment of the barriers middle-aged women face are accurate? You you think the report’s recommendations will bring about change. Share your thoughts on GlassCeiling.com and join the conversation.

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