Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Research Suggests Older Female Employees Less Likely To Receive Training Help

According to research conducted by Dr. Almuth McDowall, professor of occupational psychology at the University opf Surrey, employees who are female and over 50 are more likely to miss out on training opportunities in the workplace than younger male employees because HR managers see older women as offering a poor return on investment.

McDowall presented experienced HR managers in 48 companies with a series of fictional vignettes to test out their decision-making when allocating funding for training and development. When asked to allocate a notional budget of £6000 across four employees and justify their decisions, the characters in the scenarios who were female and over 50 received far less of the available budget than younger male characters; the HR managers justified their decisions in terms of older employees and women being less "investment-worthy" perceiving them to offer a lower return on investment.

In presenting her initial results to the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology Annual Conference, McDowall was quoted as saying "HR managers simply do not recognise they are discriminating against older workers but there is a clear bias towards younger workers when it comes to training." In addition, Richard Smelt, group HR director at Carphone Warehouse, responded with surpise: "I certainly can't see HR managers deliberately discriminating against older workers, but maybe there's a perception that older employees will be more expensive and difficult to train."

Source: Press Release British Psychological Society (January 12, 2007); Personnel Today "HR believes older staff offer 'lower return on investment' in training" (January 16, 2007)

No comments: