Britain missing opportunity to utilise older talent
The UK is failing to make the most of the skills and experience of its older workers, according to a new report.
The report, by business services company PwC, ranks the UK 19th out 34 OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries, according to the company’s Golden Age Index. This ranks countries according to a number of factors, including employment rates, earnings and training of workers aged 55-69.
Although the UK’s 19th position puts it in the middle of the pack, the country does comparatively well against other EU countries, ranking 7th out of 21. Iceland is the overall winner, followed by New Zealand, Sweden, Israel and Norway.
Jon Andrews, head of PwC’s global people and organisation practice, says: “Measures such as tax rebates for companies taking on older workers, increased spending on retraining older workers including digital skills and apprenticeships, and enforcing age discrimination laws more strictly could all be considered as a way to boost participation of people aged over 55 in the workforce.
“Businesses should be thinking about how they can utilise the skills and experience of older workers. More flexibility, job redesign, career breaks and role shifts could help engage this generation and keep them in the workforce for longer.’’
The PwC report builds on a recent UK government review by Baroness Ros Altmann, setting out a ‘New Vision for Older Workers’.
Baroness Altmann, now minister of state for pensions, says: “It is clear that, as the government works towards its goal of achieving the highest employment rate in the G7, better management of our ageing workforce will play an essential role.
“We must continue to address the barriers to fuller working lives and where we can learn from other countries in this regard, we should.”
Richard Shea, managing director, EMEA search at online executive search firm Futurestep, part of Korn Ferry, says: “The onus here lies with the employer to make sure that they are retaining key, experienced talent. Rewarding loyalty and commitment whilst keeping long-standing members of staff motivated to perform through career development programmes is vital for ensuring that all workers are adequately supported to progress and flourish, regardless of age.
“By embracing technology and innovation in HR, companies can retain staff at all levels and in all age categories, empowering them to take control of their own career through the company and pass on their knowledge to the next generation.”