Older workers are as productive as their younger counterparts and are equally motivated and willing to be flexible, according to a new study.
Research for Age UK found little evidence to back up "disparaging and engrained" stereotypes of older employees.
Older workers compensated for any dip in physical abilities with their skills and experience, the study by Essex University found.
Dr Kathleen Riach, who carried out the study, said: "Our review found that stereotyped perceptions about older workers don't stand up to scrutiny. Our work indicates that age doesn't determine a person's commitment and productivity levels at work. Other socioeconomic and psychological factors are much better indicators of the way older people behave."
The study also found that older people took fewer short term absences than younger workers, although when they were absent on sick leave, it was for longer.
Michelle Mitchell of Age UK, said: "This shows that the time has come for employers and recruiters to shed their inaccurate and damaging perceptions of older workers. Too often older workers are written off as a burden when in fact their commitment, productivity, skills and expertise make them an invaluable boon to business and the UK economy.
"Nearly half of all unemployed older workers have been out of work for more than a year. It's time the UK finally appreciated the value of this untapped potential."