This article reexamines the role of specific human capital and back loading of compensation as deterrents to hiring older workers. We utilize the framework initially suggested by Hutchens (1986) and more recently implemented by Daniel and Heywood (2007). This approach identifies the extent to which firms hire older workers at a rate less than full replacement would imply. Using the 2004 British Workplace Employment Relations Survey, we examine whether a more favourable climate including a much tighter UK labour market combined with the abandonment of defined benefit pension schemes has increased the tendency to hire older workers. We also examine the impact of private health insurance.