The Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, Andy Briggs, has announced that employers should increase the number of older people in the UK workforce by one million over the next five years.
He said that this would address the widening skills gap, tackle age bias in work and enable people to stay in work longer, and asked every UK employer to increase the number of workers aged 50-69 in the UK by 12% by 2022. The target is aimed at supporting older people who want the same range of options and opportunities as younger colleagues, and to be recognised for their experience and expertise. In recognising the skills older people bring to the workplace, employers will benefit from the breadth and depth of their knowledge.
Adam Hale, CEO, Fairsail, said:
“The Government’s support of older workers is crucial as we all come to terms with the fact that we will be working longer than past generations. Too many firms focus their attention on the younger generations coming in to the business, often at the expense of older workers. For the first time, five distinct generations are present in the job market, each with their own world view, aptitudes, life experience, career vision and expectations of an employer. This generational mix presents significant challenges in providing employee experience and fulfilling careers for every employee. We looked into it recently and found that a third of business leaders find it hard to build teams in the multi-generational workplace, but for companies who get it right, the opportunity is huge. We’re seeing a major rise in companies hiring data analysts and scientists to help them gain clarity into their workforce – the real value comes in using those insights to deliver brilliant employee experiences, whatever the age of the worker.”
Dr Jill Miller, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
“The attention that the Government is giving older workers is crucial, especially as the workforce ages and the state pension age increases. However, different sectors face different challenges, which will need to be taken into account. Individuals will also have different motivations for choosing to remain or leave in the labour market. Employer action therefore needs to be underpinned by a deep level of understanding around strategic workforce planning. They need to appreciate why people choose to stay or leave work after 50, in order to be able to engage with them and make the most of their knowledge and experience. This is about creating fulfilling working lives not just longer ones.
“We’re particularly encouraged to see an emphasis on practical guidance for employers. The CIPD is in a strong position to contribute research and insight to this to help demonstrate what works and how organisations can get to grips with the ageing workforce challenge today, before they face skills shortages that will affect their ability to grow or deliver key services in the very near future. At 50, many workers are at the top of their game, sitting on a wealth of knowledge and vital experience – the challenge is how to effectively retain and engage staff.”
The CIPD recommends five essential components that should form an organisation’s strategy to address the aging workforce challenges:
1.Ensuring they have inclusive recruitment practices
2.Improving the capability of line managers to manage an age-diverse workforce
3.Investing in training and development that is based on potential, not age
4.Supporting employee health and well-being across demographics
5.Embracing the talent attraction and retention benefits of flexible working