UK discrimination law may open jobs for IT staff

New legislation against age discrimination is opening up opportunities for older IT professionals, even in traditionally “young” environments such as the City, recruitment experts say.

S&H Consulting, which recruits key strategic staff in the financial services, consultancy and technology vendor fields, has found that even City employers are becoming more flexible since new laws to protect employees against age discrimination came into affect in October.

Managing director Alan Summers said: “We recently placed a contractor who had just taken early retirement [into a post] with an investment bank — historically a younger person’s arena. He was an ex-chief executive of a leading software supplier.” The former chief executive is now permanently employed by the bank as a relationship manager with the suppliers that provide its trading platforms.

Summers added: “There are certain skills sets which are in such high demand that employers are having to become much more flexible. It’s the skillsets that matter, not the age — which is in the very spirit of the new legislation.”

S&H director Charles Rustin said: “We’re placing people who straddle IT and operations, people who are pure IT and also people who drive systems change.” There were “certainly” opportunities for older IT managers and professionals, with firms now more willing to take on those in their late 40s and 50s, he said.

“It’s difficult to say if it’s an increasing trend, but certainly there’s a willingness among employers to do that if people have the experience.”

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