Should I mention my age on my CV?

We’d all like to imagine a world where recruiters are completely unbiased and infallible. Unfortunately the reality is that assumptions are very quickly made about candidates based on a CV. With that in mind, it’s wise to leave certain personal information off of your application. Also, personal information does not need to be discussed in the interview.

Please read on for further information on age discrimination and how that can affect your career.

Don’t provide your DOB

Age is one trait that you shouldn’t mention when applying for a job. In most cases it really has no relevance to whether you can do a job or not. Someone can have zero experience at 60 or substantial experience at 16, if they’ve been working in the family business for a number of years.

Direct age discrimination

Direct age discrimination means your employer (or prospective employer) is treating you differently and worse than someone else simply because of your age. The simplest example of this is if you’re dismissed on reaching a certain age.

Indirect age discrimination

Indirect age discrimination occurs where your employer (or prospective employer) treats you the same way as other people. But the treatment has a worse effect on you because of your age.

Examples of discrimination

An employer or prospective employer can justify direct age discrimination by showing that it is a necessary and proportionate way of meeting a legitimate aim.

Examples of discrimination include:

  • Facilitating younger workers to access the job market.
  • Enabling older workers to stay in employment for longer.
  • Avoiding the need to dismiss an older employee because of a reduction in their performance.

Quite often, policies or working conditions apply across the board to prospective employees and members of staff, regardless of age.  However, these may affect one group (older or younger) more than the other. This is known as indirect discrimination. An employer or indirect employer can justify indirect age discrimination where, for example:

  • A policy (which applies to all but negatively impacts older people more than younger people) is necessary for health and safety reasons.
  • A policy or scheme (which applies to all but benefits older people more than younger people) has been put in place to reward employees’ loyalty.
  • If the employer changed a particular aspect of their business (which applies to all but negatively impacts older people more than younger people) the business would no longer be profitable.

Don’t give them the opportunity

If you write your age on your CV template, you give your employer the opportunity to discriminate against you before you’ve even walked through the door. It may be, for example, that you’re 60 years old – but you’re perfectly fit, healthy and energetic, perhaps more so than younger candidates. An age written on your CV is just a number. So leave it off and let your prospective employer meet you and see that you’re capable of doing the job, regardless of what that number is.

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