It is not the agencies which are exercising ageist discrimination, but the employers. 

While an agency can encourage a client to see an older candidate who they regard as suited to a vacancy, often this approach is met by resistance from the employer. 

Entrenched opinions dictate that younger is better, and cheaper. In a sector where skills shortages are impacting on planned business expansion, it is the forward thinking employer who will gain competitive advantage by embracing a broader employment strategy. 

The retail industry continues to suffer from ongoing, broad-based skills shortages. 

These have been exacerbated by resource-hungry HR managers from other service-oriented sectors which have been quick to see the retail arena as a good hunting ground for talent. 

Coupled to these shortages, which are impacting on retail expansion plans, is legislation due in 2006 which proscribes discrimination on the basis of age. Much better for a company to embrace the law in advance, rather than wait to be dragged into line by the scruff of its neck.