ILC virtual policy event – The overlap between ageism and ableism in the workplace: Insights for occupational health and training

Date: Thursday 28 January 2021
Time: 2.00pm-4.15pm GMT

On Thursday 28 January 2021, we held a virtual policy event to discuss the findings from an ESRC-funded research project conducted by researchers at the University of Kent and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which investigated perceptions of ageism and ableism among older workers and the impact these have on future plans for work.

Speakers included:

  • Dr Brian Beach, Senior Research Fellow, ILc
  • Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, Professor of Work and Employment, University of Kent
  • Dr Mariska van der Horst, Assistant Professor, Universiteit Amsterdam

As populations age in the context of increasing longevity, public policy has evolved to promote an extension of working lives and a delay in retirement. Yet the presence of age-based stereotypes and age discrimination within the workplace creates a barrier for people who wish to continue working in later life to do so. Emerging research also suggests that older people’s own perspectives related to ageing shapes the opportunities they pursue and their expectations around retirement and work.

At the same time, much of the interpretation of what it means to be older is shaped by concepts of decline and disability. Ageism and ableism have largely been studied separately, a gap that this research project has addressed. The work highlights:

  • The links between ageism and ableism, and the extent to which ageism is in fact ableism;
  • How occupational health can play a role in managing health in the context of an ageing workforce;
  • The role that internalised ageism plays in shaping training and professional development.

During this virtual policy event, we learned about the project’s findings in more detail from key team members, followed by breakout discussions in two rounds to discuss the implications for occupational health and for workforce training and development.

Watch a recording of the event below.