How age-conscious are human resource policies? Using a survey of Dutch employers, we examine how employers deal with the prospect of an ageing work force. We supplement our analysis with an additional survey of Dutch employees to compare human resource policies to practices. Results show that a small minority of employers are taking measures to enhance productivity (training programmes) or bring productivity in line with pay (demotion). Personnel policies tend to ‘spare’ older workers: giving them extra leave, early retirement, or generous employment protection: older workers who perform poorly are allowed to stay, whereas younger workers under similar conditions are dismissed.