Just one in seven managers think their firms are well-prepared to cope with an ageing workforce, a new report has revealed.
And a large number say boardroom recognition of the issue is "non-existent", according to the survey, which interviewed 1,000 managers.
Despite the impending abolition of the so-called default retirement age, almost half of managers confessed to not being well-informed about their organisation's retirement policies.
This is made more worrying by the fact that a third of UK workers will be aged over 50 by 2020.
Two out of five managers had experienced age discrimination themselves, the research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) also revealed.
CMI director of policy and research, Petra Wilton, said: "If action isn't taken, employees who are in the 50-plus age bracket will feel undervalued and will have no incentive to carry on working beyond normal retirement age. The loss of their talents and considerable experience by businesses not prepared to adapt is reckless in the extreme."
Dianah Worman, CIPD's diversity adviser, added: "In difficult economic times, businesses are not galvanising the talent and skills available to help them perform more competitively. Employers will need to keep on their toes to respond appropriately to the phasing out of the default retirement age next year, which will have widespread implications."