One in five people over 50 feel Hong Kong employers have discriminated against them because of their age, a government survey has found. Responding to the findings, academics called for more public education and incentives from the government to encourage the hiring of older people. The survey, carried out last year, canvassed 573 workers aged 50 and older, said Professor Iris Chi, director of the Sau Po Centre on Ageing at the University of Hong Kong. Twenty per cent of respondents attributed their failure to land a job to their age. Employers were surveyed separately, and 9 per cent admitted to age discrimination. Wong Hung, a social work professor at Chinese University, said age discrimination was a growing problem. Dr Wong said the percentage of men over the age of 64 in work had dropped from 24 per cent in 1988 to only 10.1 per cent in 2001. For women over 64, the rate plunged from 8.6 per cent in 1988 to less than 2 per cent in 2001. He said it had been popular for elderly people to make a living doing casual jobs. However, many elderly people had lost jobs due to competition and the economic downturn.