Employing and supporting older workers

Recruiting older workers


You must not discriminate on the grounds of age when recruiting new staff. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 prohibit all employers, regardless of size, from subjecting job applicants and employees, including contract workers and former employees to age discrimination and harassment. See more on age discrimination.

Age-neutral job adverts

You should use age-neutral language when advertising for job roles. References such as 'young', 'energetic', or 'recently qualified' are best avoided as this would discriminate against older workers. You could also consider using a strapline in job adverts to welcome all-age applicants, ensuring your organisation overcomes any unconscious bias or discrimination by tracking age profiles of successful candidates and potentially offering apprenticeships for older workers as well as the young.

During recruitment, you should evaluate candidates according to values, behaviours, competencies demonstrated, and their ability to do the job. See advertising a job and interviewing candidates.


Requirements when it comes to experience should be described in terms of type or depth of experience rather than a simple number of years of experience.


Applicants should only be asked for qualifications that are necessary for a job role. Looking for graduates might not be necessary for a particular role and may discriminate against older workers.


Avoid unscripted interviews as this can often lead to discrimination when panel members ask inappropriate questions. You should ask the same questions to all candidates to ensure a fair, even, and unbiased interview process. Prepare the questions in advance and identify points that you would like candidates to address when answering their interview questions.

Promote your age-positive workplace

You can also promote your business as an age-positive employer. You could highlight the diverse age range in your workforce by featuring various members of staff through your company website or social media channels. Staff could share messages on why they enjoy working for you and if there is any specific workplace support that you provide for them.