With many organisations experiencing skills shortages, it makes business sense to have a plan of action designed to not only retain existing older workers but to encourage older workers back to work.
➖Use CIPD's Age Inclusive Recruitment Toolkit to help to minimise age bias in the recruitment process.
➖Avoid using language that could be exclusionary, such as, stating that you are seeking ‘recent graduates’ or ‘energetic and lively staff’.
➖Be upfront about flexible working - flexible working is a significant driver for older applicants in considering jobs.
➖The Behavioural Insights Team says 'There are several points in the recruitment process that could result in unequal outcomes for older workers. From how jobs are designed to begin with, for example, whether they allow for flexible working, to how candidates are selected, with several key points in between. Processes will vary between employers, and according to a range of factors such as industry, job occupation and seniority – but even so, we know that there are likely to be a range of light-touch solutions that make a real difference. For instance, we know that structured interviews and skills-based assessment tasks both help to reduce bias in selection processes'.
➖Acknowledge that hiring managers and recruiters may, whether consciously or not, make stereotypical assumptions about the ability, commitment, and drive of older workers. Actively challenge stereotypes around age and share a case for how a multigenerational workforce will help the organisation to have more innovative, engaged and productive teams.
Retention, development and engagement
➖ Offer enhanced flexible working. Take a flexible approach to working hours, place of work and making adjustments to role. By increasing the availability and range of flexibility employers will be able to attract and retain workers as they get older.
➖Offer appropriate medical and other benefits to support all health and wellbeing conditions.
➖Support people through later-life transitions, such as caring for family members, developing a health condition, or bereavement.
➖Create an open and supportive culture around managing health at work. Make sure people are confident to report a health condition without fearing negative consequences for their career.
➖Ensure that development, training and progression are available equally to employees of all ages. Firstly, it is important to check for any signs of ageism in the workplace and stamp them out. Are older people being promoted in the same as employees from younger generations? Are any being made redundant as they reach a certain age or encouraged to take early retirement?
➖Provide career guidance at mid-life and beyond, including retirement plans. Help people take stock, manage transitions, and plan holistically for the future. BITC have produced a toolkit for employers: The Mid-Life MOT: helping employees navigate mid-life. This toolkit explains how employers can use a mid-life MOT to help employees assess their current personal, employment and wellbeing needs and help them plan their financial futures.
- Article: Ageism in the tech industry: how to become an age-friendly employer, Karen Blake, CEO at Tech Talent Charter, The Guardian
- Article: Enticing older people back to work, d&i Leaders
- Article: Better with Age: The Rising Importance of Older Workers, Bain & Company
- Blog: Reducing age bias against older workers in recruitment, The Behavioural Insights Team
- Article: Why older workers could be the answer to skills shortages, d&i Leaders
- Toolkit: Supporting Carers in the Workplace, BITC
- Toolkit: The Mid-Life MOT: helping employees navigate mid-life, BITC
- Article: What employers can do to support and retain over-55s, People Management Magazine
- Toolkit: Age inclusive recruitment, CIPD