Employing An Age-Diverse Workforce
By 2020, almost a third of the workforce will be over the age of 50. The number of “mature workers” is steadily increasing around the world, and research proves that more of us are looking to work longer.
Research carried out by Prudential shows that 40% of us want to carry on working past 65. Two thirds of those who want to remain in the workplace want to remain physically healthy and mentally active, and more than half simply enjoy working. Most, however, would seek to work part-time, with only 13% wanting to stay on full-time.
With the recent change in legislation that saw mandatory retirement shelved, the age-diverse workforce is a reality.
As an employer, you are not necessarily legally obliged to diversify your workforce according to age. You are not, of course, allowed to discriminate according to age – nor are you allowed to advertise job roles for age groups.
But there are advantages to integrating a diverse range of ages within the workplace. Age diversity makes the workplace a richer place – with greater opportunity to share experience, values and knowledge. It also breaks down stereotypes that are allowed to grow in organisations where age ranges are limited and experience of other generations in the workplace is restricted.
There are – equally – challenges. Health and Safety issues need to be considered in job roles that require physical effort, and absence statistics show that while younger employees tend to be absent more often for short periods, elder employees are absent less often for longer periods. There is the threat of ageism, which needs to be combated with clear, concise policies.
So how do you foster an age-diverse workforce? It cannot be achieved overnight, but by broadening your talent acquisition methods, it can be achieved over the long term.
- Cast your net further – open your search to different skills and experiences
- Ask for anonymous CVs – you won’t be able to unconsciously discriminate
- Broaden your benefits – offer flexible benefits that employees can scale up or down according to their lifestyle
Or – should we call it a “lifestyle”-diverse workforce? The overwhelming trend appears to be a desire to carry on working, but to work fewer, or more flexible hours, and that is not restricted merely to the over-65s.
The trend, for employees, is to look for employers who show flexibility and an awareness of workplace diversity. In a competitive job market, employers themselves no longer have the upper hand, and must therefore make themselves more attractive to candidates of all ages.