Should I mention my age on my CV template?
Whilst we’d all like to imagine that recruiters are completely unbiased and infallible, the reality of recruitment is that often those vetting candidates will make assumptions about you based on what they see on your CV. With that in mind, it’s wise to leave certain information off your CV template and cover letter – and where applicable, not to discuss it in the interview. Age is one trait that you shouldn’t mention when applying for a job as 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. However, note that direct or indirect age discrimination is lawful if it is justified. This will be where the discrimination is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim.
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 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.
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 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.
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 – 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.