An investigation into the extent to which young workers are recognised within business policies on age discrimination within the Shetland Islands Council
(2013) An investigation into the extent to which young workers are recognised within business policies on age discrimination within the Shetland Islands Council, no. 87.
Purpose - Due to the change of demographic in the work force, treatment of older workers; particularly age discrimination and policies to keep older workers; is a consistent topic within the literature. However, there appears to be a gap within the literature towards younger workers and the extent to which they are included within business policies on age discrimination. Methodology - Research was undertaken at Shetland Islands Council to identify their business policies with regard to age discrimination. Shetland Islands Council was chosen because literature revealed that Shetland has an imbalance in the employment rate for younger workers in comparison to older workers and also because Shetland Islands Council is trying to reduce barriers faced by young workers through the use of a graduate scheme policy. Thirteen team leaders were interviewed to ascertain their views and experiences of age discrimination in the workplace as literature suggests this layer of management implement the policies within the organisation. A mixed methods approach was used to conduct the research. This is because previous studies had used either qualitative or quantitative research so a gap had been identified to use both. A quantitative aspect regarding the questions within the interviews was used too. Interviews consisted of a number of qualitative questions regarding their experiences of business policies towards age discrimination at Shetland Islands Council, along with a number of quantitative closed questions to enable statistical reporting to be undertaken. Findings - It appears that young workers are not included within business policies on age discrimination within the Shetland Islands Council at this present time. Some evidence did suggest that the graduate scheme policy used did help reduce the barrier of inexperience for young workers when it was implemented but it has been halted. However, other forms of discrimination have emerged due to the business policy being unsuccessfully implemented. These included double barrel discrimination as women were seen to be discriminated against due to age and gender. In addition, racial discrimination was highlighted. Finally, it was predicted by a participant that negative age discrimination towards older workers may be next because of the economic conditions resulting in large amount of cutbacks and the current policy in place seeming to be ineffective.