What do you think about older workers?

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Employees with decades of skills and experience can bring benefits to your business. Find out how age-diverse workforces are the future…

It’s no secret the UK has an ageing population. But it might surprise you that by the end of the next decade there are expected to be nearly double the amount of people over 65 living here.

And of course as it’s no longer compulsory to retire at 65, that in turn means an ageing workforce.

While the 2010 Equality Act made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of age at work, plenty of businesses still make assumptions about employing older people. 

“Too many skilled and massively experienced older workers are being written off simply because they are incorrectly considered to be past their prime,’ says Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK. “It is a terrible waste of so much talent which could be an enormous boon to business and the UK economy.”

Age UK and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) want to end age discrimination in recruitment, and highlight the benefits of employing staff over 50. At HR GO, we welcome the launch of their ‘Age Opportunity’ best practice guide - we firmly believe it’s time to start seeing older workers differently too.

Older workers can be just as productive

A government report in 2010 suggested that most older workers up to the age of 70 are equally productive as younger team members, with “any loss of speed offset by better judgment based on many years of experience” 

In fact, employing a mix of ages is good for everyone as it can even boost productivity of both older and younger workers.

Bringing different skills to the table

Without wishing to pigeonhole different age groups, speaking to HR GO clients about their own staff we find there are sometimes generational differences. While younger employees may excel at ideas, social networking and digital aspects of certain roles, older ones are often stronger in interpersonal skills and person-to-person communication, collaborating and teaching.

Aiming for an age-diverse workforce isn’t just good for the mix of skills you have in your team. There’s also the question of aiming squarely at your target market. If you want your business to appeal to different generations, doesn’t it make sense that this is reflected in your own workforce?

Thinking about carers

One in nine UK workers currently have caring responsibilities for parents, grandparents, siblings or partners alongside their paid work.

Yet when the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei) and My Family Care surveyed 1,000 consumers and 100 employers recently, it found that only 38% of employers monitor these extra responsibilities. The study also found that just a third of HR managers had brought in policies or communications designed for carers at work.

Whether you manage a team of permanent employees or mostly recruit to fill temporary contracts, it’s something all businesses need to start thinking about,

As they get older, more and more UK workers will find themselves caring for others and you may even lose out if you’re not doing enough to support their needs.

More information 

Get in touch with one of our expert local consultants to find out how to recruit more skilled, experienced older workers for your business.

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