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Ambition doesn't end at 50 - survey

While more than half blamed their stress on unrealistic deadlines or workload, as well as long working hours, just under half said a lack of support or training contributed to their ill health.

While more than half blamed their stress on unrealistic deadlines or workload, as well as long working hours, just under half said a lack of support or training contributed to their ill health.

Published Jun 26, 2015

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London - Think of ambition and you’ll probably imagine somebody who’s ruthless, go-getting and, above all, young.

In fact, researchers say the over-50s have more of a desire to climb the career ladder than their fresh-faced colleagues.

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But their enthusiasm does them little good – as they are frequently overlooked for promotion by ageist bosses.

A survey of 1 400 managers found that, while two-thirds believed baby boomers had the most knowledge and skills of all age groups, they were still written off for leadership roles. Two-thirds of bosses said employees aged over 50 had a low potential for career progression.

This compared to just a third for workers in Generation X – aged 36 to 50 – and a fifth for Millennials, who are between 18 and 35.

But the report, by the Institute of Leadership and Management, found that such perceptions often “do not match the reality”.

Managers aged over 50 were likely to express a desire to learn new skills. The survey found 94 percent said their keenness to learn, develop and progress was high, compared to 87 percent for workers aged under 36. Generation X bosses were only narrowly ahead, at 97 percent.

The institute said if older workers continued to be overlooked, Britain would suffer a “serious talent and skills shortage”. A spokesperson added: “We are seeing signs of organisational ageism.”

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