Any move that discriminates against age hits women doubly hard, especially if they are trying to return to a career after caring for a family.
The article "Stark warning of staff crisis" (THES, February 25) quotes from the report Recruitment and Retention in Employment in UK Higher Education that higher education institutions should be able to recruit the "brightest and most talented people" and maintains that these are young people. While true, it suggests older workers are less bright than younger ones. The effect is to fuel ageism and sexism already apparent in academia.
The figures on academic staff by age ratio can be interpreted as showing institutions that do not discriminate against age. Certain institutions are shown as having a higher ratio of staff over 50 per member of staff aged up to 35. Some are willing to take the fees of older students for masters or PhD programmes but when it comes to offering employment or a career structure beyond 50 or 55 they are found lacking. What is the incentive for older people to study?