The UK population is ageing. By the mid-2030s, half of all adults in the UK will be over 50 years old1 There is also a growing shortfall of younger people entering employment. Retaining older workers in the workplace has never been more important.
Employers must respond to this challenge. Through Business in the Community’s (BITC) Age campaign we provide employers with the tools to support a growing older workforce. We share best practice to promote inclusive workplaces in which employees of all ages can thrive.
How can member companies get involved with the Business in the Community age campaign?
Pioneering businesses, including Responsible Business in Action award finalists The Department for Work and Pensions, The Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Landmarc Support Services, are moving the dial on age. Through mid-life MOTs, flexible working, support for working carers or opportunities for colleagues to share experiences, these companies are building effective age-inclusive teams.
However, more needs to be done. Businesses must look at their data on age and listen to their employees. They can then introduce supportive actions to drive retention, retraining and recruitment in their older workforce. In doing so, they can create workplaces that are positive about age diversity, which reap the business benefits.
The Age Campaign is calling on employers to get ready for the age of experience. This campaign is currently focusing on how in mid-life people may fall out the workforce if they cannot balance work with other responsibilities. Caring is a major issue, and BITC is working with Carers UK, Employers for Carers and Centrica to build support for carers at work through a new policy initiative.
In 2017, as part of BITC’s role as the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, we set a five-year target for one million more older workers aged 50-69 by 2022. Two years on, we are on track with 392,000 more older workers in employment.
Headlines from the Finalists for Business in the Community's Responsible Business Awards 2019 - Age Friendly Teams Award
- 85% of staff proud to work for FSCS due to its age-friendly approach
- 25% of over 65s at Landmarc Support Services work part time
- 58% of training at Landmarc Support Services completed by over 50s
- 5 days paid leave can be immediately requested at DWP for carers
Conversations in the workplace on life stages are helping organisations to provide flexible working arrangements where necessary and to offer financial planning and/or occupational health support.
The Department for Work and Pensions offers a Carers Passport, which allows those with caring responsibilities to request flexible work patterns, have access to periods of paid (up to 5 days can be immediately requested) and unpaid leave to attend to unforeseen emergencies.
At the Department for Work and Pensions, 25% of the Age Friendly team work part-time or make use of flexible working patterns to accommodate care or health requirements. At the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), every job can be carried out flexibly, at home, in condensed hours, or with flexible start and leave times.
More companies are committed to creating an inclusive workplace where the skills of different generations are valued. FSCS, by making sure it has the right people in its business – regardless of age – is performing better than it ever has, with 95% of claims processed within published timescales, and a 23% reduction in the cost of claims processing.
Creating the right environment that supports all ages ensures an inclusive workplace that people are proud of. The investment made by FSCS has driven up staff engagement – from 60% two years ago, to 72% today.
Businesses are reporting that age-friendliness fosters a culture where employees of all ages are able to teach, share and learn from one another, creating an environment that is rich with experience and maturity. This is especially true at Landmarc Support Services where the majority (63%) of staff are over 50.
1. Department of Work and Pensions, (2017) Fuller Working Lives Evidence Base 2017. Available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa...