HC Deb 12 June 1995 vol 261 cc390-1W
Mrs. Helen Jackson

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many outstanding vacancies have an upper age requirement on them(a) in total and (b) as a percentage of the total. [27592]

Miss Widdecombe

The Employment Service conducts periodic sample surveys of age restrictions on jobcentre vacancies. The last survey was published in June 1994.

Findings revealed that age restrictions were placed on 28 per cent. of all vacancies. This was an improvement upon 1990 when 39 per cent. of vacancies had restrictions. An analysis of upper age limits revealed that 6 per cent. of the vacancies were closed to people aged 40 or over, while 8 per cent. were closed to those aged 60 and over.

A copy of report entitled "A Study of Age Restrictions on ES Vacancies" will be placed in the Library.

Mrs. Helen Jackson

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) when he last issued guidelines to the Employment Service on how to combat age discrimination; [27593]

(2) if he will publish the guidelines issued to the Employment Service about combating age discrimination. [27594]

Miss Widdecombe

The chief executive of the Employment Service is responsible for issuing guidance on operational matters.

Guidance to ES staff on how to combat age discrimination was last issued in March 1994. This guidance instructs staff in jobcentres to challenge age restrictions placed on job vacancies and to persuade employers to consider jobseekers on their merits.

Where employers insist on imposing age limits, they are reluctantly accepted. However, jobcentre staff are then encouraged to approach an employer on behalf of an otherwise suitable jobseeker who falls outside the stated age limit.

While it is not normal practice to publish guidance prepared for ES staff, a copy of the leaflet "What's Age Got To Do With It?" is available in the Library. This leaflet brings together advice contained in a number of handbooks which are issued to ES staff.

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