Insurance company plans to replace words like ‘energetic’ and ‘enthusiastic’ in job descriptions to encourage older applicants

  • An insurance group is replacing words like “enthusiastic” on job postings to make them more inclusive.
  • Phoenix Group wants to avoid words that might be perceived as appealing only to younger workers.

An insurance company is changing the way it formulates job applications, replacing words like “energetic”, “enthusiastic” and “innovative” to avoid putting off older workers.

Phoenix Group, one of the UK’s largest insurers, wants to avoid words that could be perceived as appealing only to young workers. He hopes the move will encourage more people over 50 to apply.

Labor shortages, along with a general shift in the mindset of many workers, are causing companies to re-evaluate how they retain employees and which talent pools they recruit from.

Experts, backed by research, warn that the wording used in job descriptions matters. They said if it seemed biased, it could prevent people from applying and discriminate against talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

A Phoenix Group spokesperson told Insider that words like “enthusiastic” can deter people from applying, if they feel like it’s aimed at a younger generation and feel left out.

“We have not made the decision to ban specific words, but we will seek to replace words such as ‘innovative’ with specific skills such as ‘bringing new ideas’ or ‘problem-solving’,” they said. they stated.

Phoenix’s decision is part of a larger effort to eliminate bias from his recruitment to treat. Measures include analyzing claims of gender or ethnic bias, the spokesperson said.

The company also plans to ensure that the ads are shown more widely so that they are not only seen by young people.

Phoenix Group employs 7,000 people in the UK, 44% of whom are over 45.

In 2017, its CEO Andy Briggs was named the UK Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, a voluntary role that involves raising awareness and helping companies hire and retrain older workers.

As people’s working lives get longer, there have been frequent calls to tackle ageism, which many people say they feel when applying for jobs.

A 2021 report by the over-50s interest group AARP estimated that the exclusion of older workers could cost the US economy nearly $4 trillion by 2050.

These concerns have been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has seen many people over the age of 50 leave the workforce prematurely, either by choice or due to other factors such as poor health or family responsibilities.

Another British insurance company, Saga, announced in December that it was giving employees paid leave when their grandchildren are born. Others, including fashion e-tailer ASOS, have started offering paid leave to staff going through menopause.


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