Age discrimination is a severe recruitment problem in the UK, particularly because a lot of companies don’t realise that they are doing it.

Favouring a younger candidate with lots of potential to grow often seems the obvious choice. However, developing a younger candidate is more work than just teaching them the necessary skills as they are inexperienced and need to be taught how to acclimatise to working in general. Not only are older workers massively valuable due to their experienced perspective, but they can get working at their full potential right away.

In the UK the retirement age is continually increasing, meaning there are more older people open to employment than ever before. This presents a vast talent pool which your business can tap into and benefit from should you decide to seize the opportunities that a multigenerational team of employees provides.

Alongside a potentially vast array of experience, older workers present many additional benefits to your business.

These include:

1. A wealth of transferable knowledge

This can include valuable experience, lessons and business contacts that can be utilised for success. Older workers usually come with vast networks due to the level of experience they have built up over the years. Additionally, they have a lot to teach younger workers who haven’t yet hit their prime.

2. Greater staff retention

It has been found that older workers are more likely to remain with the business. Younger staff are said to have an average of 10% turnover rate compared to a much lower 4% for older workers.

3. Lower absence rate

Alongside a lower turnover rate, it is also reported that older workers are less likely to take time off for illness. This is despite the fact they are more likely to have a long-term health condition than younger staff members.

4. Diversity

A multigenerational workforce contributes to the diversity and inclusivity of your business which could provide you with a competitive edge. This is due to the broad range of knowledge, experience and ideas from differing groups of people merging, to excel employees in their work and your business as a whole.

5. A greater level of confidence to share ideas

Older workers will have built up a substantial level of confidence from their years of working experience. This could result in them being more open to suggesting and sharing ideas to progress the business.

6. A strong focus

After working for several years, older workers will know what they want to do and what they want to achieve within a job later in their career. They will be focused on the task at hand and want to successfully complete the work given to them. This could result in an increased level of productivity and efficiency, contributing to the success of your business. 

How to engage with older workers

As an employer, you can offer accommodations and attractive benefits to attract older workers. Their needs will be different from that of younger workers and will significantly appreciate employers who recognise and support that. Some of the aspects you could incorporate include:

Flexibility

Many older workers will have numerous life commitments such as family, caring for others, hobbies and volunteering. Others may simply be seeking a greater work-life balance. Whatever the reason may be, by offering flexible working hours older workers are able to carry on with their personal commitments alongside positively contributing to your business.

Training

It is essential to continue to offer training to staff no matter their age. Older workers are incredibly open to learning new things and will want to continue to develop in the later years of their career. By providing training opportunities, performance will improve alongside job satisfaction as they will feel a valued part of the business. Oftentimes, older workers can become disenchanted from work because they are overlooked for development opportunities, despite feeling capable.

Attractive benefits package

As part of life, health risks increase as we get older. For older workers, healthcare benefits will be extremely valued, alongside retirement planning, wellness programmes and any other appropriate support.

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