Employers need to "adjust their attitudes" in the face of an increasingly ageing population, according to Age UK in Nottingham.
The charity said more companies need to be willing to recognise the potential of older people when hiring workers.
BBC-commissioned research identifies the area as having one of the lowest employment rates for over 50s.
The study, by Experian, looks at how parts of England will be affected by a society which is growing older.
According to the researchers, 30.4% of people working in Nottingham are aged over 50 - putting the area 365th out of 378 local authority areas.
John Wheeldon, a senior manager for Age UK in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said: "Ageism is now illegal. No-one must be prevented from developing and an older person is likely to have many skills valuable to organisations.
"It's a wheel that's slowly turning, but we should really be taking the lead from places like the US where men in their 60s and 70s are running local volunteer fire services for example.
"I think we need to develop this kind of mentality."
Mr Wheeldon said looking for a job can be daunting and demoralising for older people, with the younger generation much more prepared for the possibility of being made redundant.
He added: "People entering the jobs market now are told they might have to have six, seven, eight jobs whereas older people expected to do the same job all their lives."
Organisations such as Age UK are keen to stress the importance of allowing older people to remain self-sufficient and independent for as long as possible, both for their own well-being and to help reduce the care burden on society.