Phoenix insurance group has removed the words “energetic” and “enthusiastic” from job advertisements to prevent older applicants being discouraged.

  • Phoenix Group’s job ads no longer include the words “energetic” or “enthusiastic”.
  • The firm claims that older workers will be less likely to use the words in order to get the job. 
  • Applicant descriptives like ‘innovative’ will also be replaced by ‘problem solving’
  • Comes as employers are being urged to take on 180,000 over-50s who have left work during the pandemic amid staffing shortages

To avoid offending older candidates, a leading insurance company banned the terms ‘energetic and ‘enthusiastic from job ads.

Phoenix Group claimed it was investigating how to make job applications free from ‘younger age stereotypical words’. It is concerned about the fear that older people will ‘rule themselves out’ and stop them applying.

Birmingham-based firm is also said be reviewing where the company placed advertisements in order to reach more senior job seekers.

Andy Briggs is the Phoenix business champion. He was named by the government in 2017 to lead Phoenix.

Phoenix Group, a leading insurance firm run by the government's business champion for older workers Andy Briggs (pictured), will no longer use words 'energetic' or 'enthusiastic' in its job adverts to avoid putting off older workers.

Phoenix Group, an insurance giant run by Andy Briggs (pictured), has stopped using the words “energetic” or “enthusiastic” in its job advertisements to prevent older workers being put off.

Phoenix spokeswoman said that the reason people are less enthusiastic with age is because of research that shows some people might not apply if it doesn’t make them feel valued.

Other words, such as “innovative”, will be dropped by the company. Instead, it will state it wants skills such as “contributing to new ideas” and “problem solving.”     

Phoenix operates closed life insurance books, under various names, including Standard Life, Sun Life, ReAssure and Sun Life. It employs over 7,000 people across the UK, Ireland and Germany, and has 80 open positions.

According to the company’s website, 44% of their workforce is over 45 years old.

It appears that the company is addressing concerns about job security due to the pandemic. This has adversely affected both older and younger workers.

The company, based in Birmingham, is also said to be assessing where it placed its advertisements to ensure they reached older jobseekers

Birmingham-based firm is also said be reviewing where the company placed advertisements in order to reach more older job seekers

Last year, the ONS released figures that showed 180,000 less over-50s were working than in the years before the Covid pandemic.

Data also showed that over 25% of furloughed people were older than 50. This is around 1.3million total.

An opinion poll revealed that three-in-10 older workers who were furloughed believed they had a higher than 50% chance of losing their job if the scheme was ended. 

It was also discovered that 13% of workers changed their retirement plans. 5 percent said they were planning on retiring earlier, while 8% stated that they are planning to retire later.

Briggs is co-chairing the 50Plus Choices Employer Taskforce with Mims Davies, Employment Minister. He said that these figures had an important impact on employment markets.

He stated that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on older workers, as well as the younger ones, in October.

We must recognize both the short- and long-term consequences of our inaction. Over-50s make up a third our workforce, but often due to their advanced age it will be much more difficult to reenter the workforce.

“Job losses in the older generation represent a serious threat to the economy, as well as to the financial security of their later lives. One-in-eight people over 50 have changed their retirement plans due to the pandemic.”