Older female staff in Scotland’s colleges feel they are being held back from promotion, according to new analysis by Advance HE.
Almost one in five of those surveyed over 60 said they were not fairly treated at their college, with older women saying they felt held back from development and training opportunities due to age and gender discrimination.
Advance HE has published Equality in colleges in Scotland: impact of age on staff experience based on qualitative data from research previously published by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU). The insights also highlight some age barriers that younger people face working in the college sector, as well as those experienced by older staff.
Stephanie Millar, Policy and Programme Advisor (Scotland) at Advance HE said: “With an increasingly ageing workforce in Scotland it’s important for colleges to have suitable policies and procedures in place to support older workers. However, our research also shows a “one size fits all” approach to age may be having a negative impact on younger staff. Developing a nuanced approach to age in the workplace will benefit colleges and their workforce.”
Equality in colleges in Scotland: impact of age on staff experience recommends four key ways to tackle age discrimination in Scottish colleges:
- review policies and procedures to assess for age bias or unnecessary criterion that could lead to possible disadvantage for both older and younger staff.
- assess how age-related criterion can have an impact on an individual’s likely success and consider other ways of measuring suitability, such as assessing through competencies or skills.
- ensure promotion and development processes are transparent and well-known by all staff.
- consider the intersection of age and other protected characteristics, particularly gender and disability. Policies and procedures may need to be more nuanced to reflect the different needs of different groups.