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Is it age discrimination for employers to stipulate A level grades as well as degree?

A question to ponder
Is it age discrimination for an employer to specify A level grades and degree classification for a job.

I have three arguments that say it is

1) I saw a graduate job that required A*AA and a 2.1 - so lets think you did your A levels in 2009 and got top grades, then a gap year then a 4 year course then an Masters , then a PhD , all of which you achieved , you would at best be graduating later this year or next year. However as A* didn't appear until 2010 , you can not achieve the screening requirements of A*AA.

2) You are a mature student who entered Uni through a non conventional route ( as most mature students do) so may not have A levels or high A levels yet you could have a 1st, and life experience, from any Uni in the country but not be able to get one of these graduate jobs

3) You are really old (like me) and when I did A levels the marks awarded were proportioned so x% got an A, y%, B and so on, it fact it was reported in some subjects there were 8 marks (not %) between a B and a D. So in those cases your A levels are not directly comparable.


Anyone think there is discrimination and if so why? Could it be that companies do not want older employees because they are less likely to be pushed around?

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Reply 1
It's certainly not age discrimination in any legal sense. But in my opinion it's absolutely ridiculous, and I personally avoid any jobs that request specific A Level results, because I know exactly what that company is looking for, and exactly what my colleagues would be like if I got the job, and I know that it's just not for me at all. But for people who are looking to work in that kind of company, more power to them. There's a lock for every key.
No it isnt, but you could try and use some common sense.

If you believe it is, then you cna start a claim against them or report the to the qualities commission. You would be wrong though.

You can either spend time feeling hard done by or actually sort something out.
Reply 3
Original post by Warwick65
A question to ponder
Is it age discrimination for an employer to specify A level grades and degree classification for a job.

I have three arguments that say it is

1) I saw a graduate job that required A*AA and a 2.1 - so lets think you did your A levels in 2009 and got top grades, then a gap year then a 4 year course then an Masters , then a PhD , all of which you achieved , you would at best be graduating later this year or next year. However as A* didn't appear until 2010 , you can not achieve the screening requirements of A*AA.

Speak to the HR department and mention your A-levels are from before they awarded A*s.

2) You are a mature student who entered Uni through a non conventional route ( as most mature students do) so may not have A levels or high A levels yet you could have a 1st, and life experience, from any Uni in the country but not be able to get one of these graduate jobs

Most jobs aren't "grad schemes". Indeed most grad schemes are really aimed at those grads who don't have much real work experience. A mature graduate, with actual work experience, shouldn't be applying for grad schemes.

3) You are really old (like me) and when I did A levels the marks awarded were proportioned so x% got an A, y%, B and so on, it fact it was reported in some subjects there were 8 marks (not %) between a B and a D. So in those cases your A levels are not directly comparable.

Some grade boundaries are very tight even today. I'm not sure what your point is.

Anyone think there is discrimination and if so why? Could it be that companies do not want older employees because they are less likely to be pushed around?


Grad schemes are aimed at fresh-faced new graduates. If you aren't one of them apply for the "real" jobs instead and maximise your real life and work experiences. You have the advantage in that over a grad with just a piece of paper and zero life skills.

What's your Masters/PhD in? And what sort of jobs have you been applying for? Presumably you've been looking at the job market during your 5 or so years of postgraduate study....

What age are you?
(edited 5 years ago)
EDIT: I misread.

A) They will likely change their mind about the A* requirement if you tell them of your circumstances.

B) They will normally take equivalents.

C) Might be a case for that. Like A), they might change their mind about the requirement.

Why do they have such requirements? Depends on the company: the spec you describe is normally used by agencies and not the actual recruiters. When it is used by recruiters directly, it is normally a small and informal company -- these sorts make lots of HR blunders. They often do not actually care about what requirements are listed in the spec, and if they do you can usually change their mind.
(edited 5 years ago)
Reply 5
Just for the record, it is of no real issue to me as I'm not looking for work at the moment however Aldi tell me they do not make exceptions and Ipsos Mori who are a company who interest me do not reply to emails or letters.

I am not convinced it is not indirect age discrimination but that's for someone else to fight.

My point about the grade boundaries was one of the reasons the grading system was altered in the 1980's.

You say grad schemes aren't intended for mature students. Well maybe that needs rephrasing. Age is a protected characteristic as per the Equality Act 2010.
Reply 6
>> Is it age discrimination for an employer to specify A level grades and degree classification for a job.

No it is not. The employer is weeding out those with an intellect lower than is needed for their job. Nothing wrong with that.
Reply 7
Original post by ukrj
>> Is it age discrimination for an employer to specify A level grades and degree classification for a job.

No it is not. The employer is weeding out those with an intellect lower than is needed for their job. Nothing wrong with that.

If you genuinely believe that, why not just use degree classification.

Requiring higher A level grades also helps propagate class inequalities and if you find that questionable investigate who is more likely to get the As and Bs. Middle class children from good schools often with parents who have paid for tuition to get them there.
Reply 8
Sure there are many ways one cold select and this is what they gave chosen. It is perfectly legal and many would find it moral too.

Sounds to me like your complaint is about class discrimination and not age discrimination. Your thread title is misleading.
Original post by Warwick65


I am not convinced it is not indirect age discrimination but that's for someone else to fight.



It would indirect age discrimination if an employer actually insisted on the stated criteria but it would also be indirect racial discrimination ie discrimination on the grounds of nationality. A smaller proportion of Irish or Polish than English, Welsh or Northern Irish applicants would meet the stated requirements because only a small minority of those nationalities will hold A levels.

Advertising the A* (or any) A level requirements is probably not discriminatory because of a tacit understanding that qualifications would not be insisted upon where unreasonable.

In practice this appears to be a non-issue in the real workplace.
Original post by ukrj
Sure there are many ways one cold select and this is what they gave chosen. It is perfectly legal and many would find it moral too.

Sounds to me like your complaint is about class discrimination and not age discrimination. Your thread title is misleading.


You are not correct here.
Reply 11
Original post by nulli tertius
You are not correct here.


It would be helpful for us to know what exactly is not correctly stated ... LOL.
Original post by ukrj
It would be helpful for us to know what exactly is not correctly stated ... LOL.


It isn't perfectly legal.

The OP's complaint that he was required to have a grade that didn't exist when he sat his A levels was clearly age and not class discrimination.
Reply 13
Original post by nulli tertius
It isn't perfectly legal.

The OP's complaint that he was required to have a grade that didn't exist when he sat his A levels was clearly age and not class discrimination.


It is clearly unreasonable but one would need get legal advice before saying it was illegal under age discrimination laws. However, if the OP achieved the maximum grade possible then why not just state the A grades and put "maximum achievable" in brackets. Or just state A* and explain it to them in detail if questioned. I'm sure their HR department has come across this before and will handle it reasonably.
Reply 14
Original post by Warwick65
Just for the record, it is of no real issue to me as I'm not looking for work at the moment however Aldi tell me they do not make exceptions and Ipsos Mori who are a company who interest me do not reply to emails or letters.


The Aldi grad scheme specifies a 2:1+ and >= 96 UCAS current tariff points (which BBB would exceed) not A*s.

I'd be interested in seeing any scheme that requires A*s at A-level.

Posted from TSR Mobile
(edited 5 years ago)
If it's 'no real issue for you' OP why ask the question? I've never seen an employer say 'you must have xyz grades'.

FWIW Ipsos Mori say they want a 2.1 and 300 UCAS points.
Original post by Duncan2012
If it's 'no real issue for you' OP why ask the question? I've never seen an employer say 'you must have xyz grades'.

FWIW Ipsos Mori say they want a 2.1 and 300 UCAS points.


i've certainly seen them ask for specific grades, but always accept alternatives, It's not like there is only one awarding body and system.
Reply 17
Some interesting views and some seem to be quite antagonistic. While it is of no direct concern to me at the moment, I may well be in the job market in 12 months time and was looking around at the types of jobs available. As social research is an area that interests me Ipsos Mori is an obvious choice.

For the person who thought I was more concerned with class rather than grades , that was not the case , however I am also interested in inequality so was using this as an example. Who knows it might be worth further investigation to look at how educational inequalities can follow you through life however much you achieve after A level.

It is nice of you all to go looking and quoting what the selection criteria are, I really didn’t know that.

For what its worth I have an email from Aldi who thought I was asking them to reconsider ( I wasn’t) where they say the grades at entry requirements are set in stone and are the minimum. The advert I saw did clearly say the B’s although as you say now they have come down to 96 points which is three C’s. You will also note Aldi require a 2.1 at UG level regardless of further HE qualifications.

Ipsos Mori want 300 points which is three B’s in the old system I believe , they have failed to answer two emails asking if this is an absolute or are exceptions made.

For the sceptic who thinks I am making up the requirement for A*AA there is a job on prospects and other sites with TPP in Leeds https://www.graduate-jobs.com/job/tpp-graduate-analyst-no-experience-required-leeds-93158 It was not an area I would be looking at but there is says A*AA. This is for Duncan2012 as well, if you look at those jobs you will now have seen an employer who requires specific grades at A level
Reply 18
Original post by Doonesbury
The Aldi grad scheme specifies a 2:1+ and >= 96 UCAS current tariff points (which BBB would exceed) not A*s.

I'd be interested in seeing any scheme that requires A*s at A-level.

Posted from TSR Mobile

I don’t think I said Aldi were requiring A* and now you have seen jobs that require A* AA at A level.
Original post by Warwick65
For the sceptic who thinks I am making up the requirement for A*AA there is a job on prospects and other sites with TPP in Leeds https://www.graduate-jobs.com/job/tpp-graduate-analyst-no-experience-required-leeds-93158 It was not an area I would be looking at but there is says A*AA. This is for Duncan2012 as well, if you look at those jobs you will now have seen an employer who requires specific grades at A level


Thanks for sharing. Any company recruiting graduates who asks them to email a list of "all individual GCSE and A Level subjects" clearly doesn't have a great hiring process. Asking for a "GPA of 4.0 or above" is nonsense (or a 'B' on the 5.0 scale).

Having read their reviews on Glassdoor they've clearly got lots of other issues too. So I'm happy to think they're not representative of any company hiring graduates.

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