The importance of an intergenerational workplace

Anne Willmot, Business in the Community Age Campaign Director speaks of the opportunities and the challenges that an ageing population presents. 

We now have over 10 million over the 50s in the workforce.  That means that there are five generations working alongside each other for the first time in history and by 2030 half the adults in the UK will be over 50 which means your future customers will be older too.   Is your business ready to adapt?

Through launching our partnership offer for the Age campaign earlier this year, we are inviting employers to join us as we respond to both the opportunities and the challenges that the ageing population presents. Age is an amplifier of other types of inequality, for example, the gender pay gap is largest for those in their 50s, and considering age as part of your inclusion work is essential to achieving your diversity goals.

We believe that people of every age should be able to continue to work if they wish to do so. But as it stands, too many people over 50 are being overlooked. Our research found a missing million people between 50 and State Pension age who have been forced out of work.

Ageism is rife; a 50-year-old is 4.2 times less likely to be invited to interview than a 28-year-old. We need to support those will health issues and caring responsibilities to prevent them leaving their jobs, and deal with the discrimination and bias in recruitment that make it hard to for the over 50s to secure employment.

Business has a crucial role to play to prevent an early exit from the workforce. The case for doing so is clear: older workers offer a wealth of skills, knowledge, networks and experience that employers benefit from. Furthermore, age-diverse teams have been shown to increase productivity and customer satisfaction.

Our leadership team members, together as the national Business Champion for Older Workers, are already reaping the rewards of supporting their older workers. Over the past two years, they have taken action to retain, retrain and recruit people over 50, to offer them the same opportunities for work, training and progression as their younger counterparts. They are filling skills shortages, maximising the skills and experience of older workers, and benefiting from a workforce that better reflects their audience and customers.

The need to develop a long-term strategic approach to recruiting and retaining older workers is crucial – in tackling skills gaps, and in the development of the products and services that will allow their business to succeed with an ageing population. Working with Business in the Community demonstrates your commitment to creating a workplace in which all employees can thrive. As a partner of the Age campaign, you will gain access to a dedicated age adviser, resources, training and unparalleled opportunities to network and share best practice with your peers.

To find out more about joining the Age campaign and what we offer, please visit our join us page.