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UK Employers are Unprepared for Managing an Ageing Workforce

Average age in the UK workforce is increasing. We need to ensure employers give equal opportunities to all.

As life expectancies are set to increase dramatically over the next decade, retirement length is set to increase too. However, should people choose to stay in employment for longer, we have to ask, are we equipped for an ageing workforce?

Ageing Workforce

The Centre for Ageing Better conducted a survey of 500 UK employers and found that only 20% said that they are discussing the ageing workforce in their workplaces. Furthermore, nearly a quarter of employers think that their workplace isn't prepared for an ageing workforce.

It is predicted that by 2020, a third of all workers will be over the age of fifty. Employers are therefore being called upon to make the relevant changes in workplaces so that should employees choose to work beyond the age of retirement, they can. People over the age of fifty will have the skills of those younger than them, alongside years of experience and accumulated knowledge. Choosing not to utilise the talents of these employees because of their age is a form of discrimination. 

"There are some three million people out of work aged between 50 and the state pension age."

Martin Barrow (Huffington Post UK)

Managing an Ageing Workforce

With an increase in the average age of the workforce, are employers and managers equipped to provide suitable workplaces for people over 50? The Centre for Ageing Better survey also found that one in five stated that they had faced difficulties managing age-diversity at work. As well as this, older workers have noted feeling less comfortable with having managers younger than them. Additionally, only one-third of employers said they provide advice and training for managers in age diversity. Here at iHASCO, it is compulsory for managers to take our Unconcious Bias Training for Managers to ensure everyone is given the same opportunities.

Often, employees will leave employment prematurely as they do not feel like they are supported as they age. If employers do not begin to make changes in the opportunities they offer their employees and in the recruitment process, their workforce will suffer. The recruitment process will need to adopt new criteria to eliminate age bias and an age-friendly attitude will need to be fostered within the workplace. This will allow people to work for as long as they want to rather than as long as they feel able to. 

Five Practices To Adopt

Here are five practises that would improve attitudes to the ageing workforce within the UK:

  • Flexibility - making the workplace appropriate for both employers & employees of any age
  • Support - health measures should be adjusted as employees age
  • Progression - everyone should have equal opportunities regardless of age 
  • Non-bias recruitment - where older candidates are not discriminated against
  • Culture - an inclusive environment for all ages

Here at iHASCO we promote an equal opportunities policy and provide training about Equality & Diversity and Unconcious Bias to all of our employees & managers. If you think your workplace could benefit from this training get started with a free no-obligation trial today.