Teaching an old dog new tricks?

Next year I will be celebrating 40 years in the profession. So perhaps you’ll think I am a bit biased towards this month’s subject!

Organisations must do more to retain and promote older workers, experts have told the government’s Women and Equalities Committee session on the role of older people in the workplace.

Perhaps to no one’s surprise given the size of the ageing population and squeeze in real incomes, the committee was told that the recruitment and reskilling of older workers would become increasingly important.

Research from the International Longevity Centre shows the difference between the employment rate for 53-year-olds and 67-year-olds is 64 percent. Apparently key reasons for the difference are health and caring responsibilities: older workers are often looking after children, parents or partners, which puts them under significant pressure both physically and emotionally.

So, what are some of the immediate things that can be done? Some experts feel that greater access to wellbeing and counselling services would help address this problem. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, only around 40 per cent of employers offer occupational health services.

Another solution, the uptake of flexible working, had broadly plateaued over the last 15 years despite a slight increase in part-time working. Overall, employees’ ability to access flexi-time, job shares and home working had not really increased.

Interestingly in its evidence to the committee, the Federation of Small Business’ said that its members’ views on flexible working are changing and younger business owners are much more open to thinking about job design and flexibility from the outset. Flexibility is more important to younger people, and that is what they want to offer their staff too.

So, come on, let’s round up the dogs.

David Cawthorne, Cedar Human Resources

If you need advice please e-mail David at david@cedargbltd.co.uk
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