Why employers should value age diversity
When it comes to diversity, we tend to focus on gender and ethnicity; but age is also important for an inclusive and effective workplace. According to recent research, businesses who create supportive workplaces for older staff will see improved productivity, as well as a whole host of other benefits.
Older workers facing uncertain future
Almost a third of the UK’s workforce is aged over 50, reflecting an ageing population and a steady rise over two decades in the employment rate of older workers. According to official statistics, almost three-quarters of people aged 50-64 were in work in 2020, compared with just 56 per cent in 1984. However, the recent pandemic has taken its toll, with 175,000 more people aged 50-64 out of work since March 2020 and more than 640,000 over-55s still on furlough.
This is concerning as older workers who fall out of the workforce are twice as likely to become long-term unemployed. And when job-hunting later in life there are plenty of obstacles to overcome including health issues, a lack of access to retraining and blatant ageism. Without action now, there is the possibility of an unemployment crisis among older workers that may force many into poverty during retirement. Not to mention implications for the wider economy with reduced tax contributions.
Time to act
That’s why we want employers to embrace the older worker and offer them:
- More meaningful, fulfilling and satisfying work which benefits financial wellbeing and social connections and provides meaning and purpose.
- Better access to training and development, so they have the skills and confidence to choose different industries and sectors.
- The right to work flexibly, so they can look after their health and work less hours but for more years.
Embrace the opportunities
It’s a fact that we’re all going to live longer. And with the state pension age rising to 67 in years to come, many more people will have to keep working through necessity, rather than choice. So, employers and business leaders have an opportunity now to look at ways to make jobs better for older workers. They also need to recognise the productivity benefits of multigenerational teams.
After all, older workers:
- Bring experience
- Create a balanced workforce
- Are loyal and trustworthy
- Can mentor younger team members
- Improve staff retention rates
- Increase staff morale
- Enable effective skill transfer
So next time you are recruiting, do not fall into the trap of believe that older people are “overpaid” and can be “replaced with younger workers” who can do the job just as well. The scientific evidence disputes this. Evidently knowledge and expertise — the main predictors of job performance — can increase even beyond the age of 80.
Any business owner who’s hesitant to hire an older worker needs to bear in mind that an older workers’ unique skills and values, combined with potential time and money savings, because staff turnover will generally be less, makes hiring them a simple option. So, for a happier, more successful and balanced business, isn’t it time that you reaped the benefits of being an age-friendly employer?
How can we help?
We can assist businesses with their recruitment processes and employment contracts so they can support a growing older workforce. For help and/or further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org