Employers urged to leave ages out of job ads

Swiss employers are allowed to stipulate in advertisements what age and gender they would like a worker to be Keystone

The Swiss Employers‘ Association has called for more careful consideration on the part of employers when it comes to writing age requirements in job ads – a practice at odds with most other western countries.

This content was published on February 6, 2015 - 15:08

“We would like to motivate employers to try leaving out age requirements where they’re not needed and analyse the effects to see what comes out of it,” the association’s Daniella Lützelschwab told

According to an analysis done by the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper and Switzerland’s largest jobs portal,, 43% of roughly 25,000 Swiss job advertisements included a desired age for the candidate. Of those 25,000 ads, just 20 specifically looked for workers older than 45. About 200 sought workers aged 35-65. Overall, less than 1% of advertisements were seeking older workers, the analysis found.

Switzerland is one of the only western countries that allows age requirements to be included in job advertisements; the European Union does not allow it and the practice is also banned in the United States, where it is considered discriminatory. Switzerland does not have a specific law banning age discrimination.

Lützelschwab stopped short of calling employer age requirements “discrimination“ and emphasised that good reasons exist for including such requirements, such as improving the age diversity of a team. However, the Employers‘ Association has launched a campaign urging employers to try leaving age requirements out of ads where possible.

In October, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) called age discrimination “the biggest gap to fill“ in the Swiss employment picture, saying that employers needed to do a better job of managing aging employees, encouraging ongoing professional development and basing salaries on productivity instead of on the number of years served in the company.

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