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Phoenix Group drops ‘energetic’ from job ads to woo older applicants

One of the UK’s largest insurance groups is to replace the words “energetic” and “enthusiastic” in its job adverts, saying they put off older applicants.

Phoenix Group, which owns Standard Life, said this was not because people’s enthusiasm waned with age.

Instead, older workers often ruled themselves out of applying if they felt unwanted, it said.

Phoenix said it wanted to take an inclusive approach in its recruitment, as first reported by The Telegraph – but it denied that it was banning certain words from job adverts.

It said it wanted to replace words such as “innovative” in job ads to try to avoid discouraging older applicants.

Instead it will say it is looking for competencies such as “contributing new ideas” or “problem solving”.

Phoenix Group chief executive Andy Briggs, who is the government’s “business champion” for older workers, warned in February 2021 that some workers had been disproportionately hit by the pandemic.

The insurer employs more than 7,000 people in the UK and is currently advertising 83 vacancies. The percentage of Phoenix employees aged 45 or over is 44%.

The employment rate for people aged between 50 and 64 has been increasing steadily since the mid-1990s, and in April to June 2021 stood at 71.2%, according to official figures. However, that increase has lagged behind younger age groups in the pandemic.


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