As of 1 July 2022, it will no longer be legal for companies to ask about an applicant’s age. Employers have therefore been banned from asking for information about an applicant’s age when recruiting or hiring.
The new law is in line with the principle that employers may only ask about matters that are essential for the organisation and execution of the job. However, this does not mean that an employer cannot put emphasis on experience – the law simply intends to help ensure that an applicant is not rejected solely on the grounds of age.
Therefore, we have put together 3 things that the new law helps to avoid:
1 Avoid labour shortages
“The government is … proposing a law that means that employers will not be allowed to ask for applicants’ ages … The bill stems from the tripartite agreement of autumn 2021, which is intended to help alleviate labour shortages”, a press release from the Ministry of Employment states.
The law is thus adopted as part of the “Tripartite Agreement on labour shortages”, which intends to help get more jobseekers into the labour market. It is therefore part of making it easier for jobseekers to get vacant jobs and thus reduce labour shortages in the Danish labour market.
2 Avoid screening out qualified candidates
The new law also helps to create better conditions for jobseekers, as an applicant can no longer be screened out based on age but will instead be assessed based on qualifications and experience. Already in the screening process, this provides better conditions for applicants, as an application can no longer be screened out by looking at the year of birth:
“49% of the respondents in the evaluation answered that they have experienced being rejected because of their date of birth, while 44% have experienced that it is difficult to find a job if they want to change industry”, the press release from the Ministry of Employment states.
It should therefore send a signal to companies that qualifications are prioritised regardless of the age of the applicant. The skills of an applicant will thus be assessed from a neutral point of view, and this will help to ensure a qualified workforce.
Thorsten Andersen, senior consultant at Compass Human Resources Group, supports this:
“Clients are generally concerned with competencies, personality and motivation. In the past, when we were approached with an age wish, it was more based on how a person is perceived at a certain age than wanting a candidate with a certain age. The more experienced a hiring manager is in recruitment contexts, the less often age was brought up”.
3 Avoid age discrimination
There has been a tendency for available seniors to feel rejected because of their age. The new law is therefore also part of preventing age discrimination in job searches and thus giving seniors a better deal when looking for work.
Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard underlines: “There is a need to end discrimination against seniors in the labour market. At a time when companies are looking for labour, it is completely absurd that unemployed Danish workers with plenty of resources and skills experience being rejected solely because of their age. With this bill, we are taking a small step towards ending age discrimination, but we are sending a big signal to companies”.
Compass Human Resources Group’s assessment of the new law
For Compass Human Resources Group, this does not change the current way of dealing with candidates, as it has not been the practice to obtain information on a candidate’s age until now:
“I do not see it as a problem, because we were rarely asked about age in the past, as it is not a parameter we select on. You can be a fresh 62-year-old or a tired 48-year-old, so it depends more on the energy the candidate brings and the energy of the team or organisation the candidate will be part of”, says Thorsten Andersen, senior consultant at Compass Human Resources Group.
As a recruitment company, Compass Human Resources Group supports the initiative as it helps to end discrimination and thus promotes diversity among job seekers.
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