Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Why employers need to recognise the value of older workers.
I attended an interesting lecture yesterday given by Ros Altmann on behalf the International Longevity Centre entitled ‘Productive Ageing’.
Ros has been appointed by the UK Government as the Older Workers Business Champion. It is a much needed role and is bringing the topic of an older workforce and the issues facing the over 50s in or looking for employment centre stage.
Ros echoed many of the themes already highlighted on Fab after Fifty
- Increased longevity creating need for longer working lives
- Positive impact of older works on the economy
- Positive impact of older workers on individuals health and self esteem
- Opportunities for reinvention
- Looking at more flexible ways of working in later life
- Early retirement should be viewed as the exception rather than the norm.
- The need for more apprenticeships for older workers
Ros emphasised how a shift in the mindset of employers is essential to recognise the contribution older employees bring and the need for the three ‘R’s:
We are all aware of the issues and challenges. I look forward to seeing how this awareness and focus by the current government translates into practical solutions. In theory we have legislation to protect older workers from age discrimination, however the shift in attitude and mindset is not easy to fix in the short term. We need a strong education and communication campaign highlighting positive 50+ case studies demonstrating the real value we can bring to organisations – large and small! It is one thing recognising the value older workers can bring, but we need more employers to cross over the line and recruit 50plus workers as the norm rather than the exception.
We must also play our part and show that we are ready, willing and fit to work. We need to play to our strengths- loyalty, commitment, communication skills and show that hiring someone over 50 is low risk and that employers will get a return on their investment in us.
Let’s hope we will not have to wait too long for recognition and change to come about!