Employers need to do more to attract and train older workers says REC

Hiring older workersEmployers need to provide more training opportunities for older workers and how they advertise jobs to attract recruits over 55, according to the results of a survey issued by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). Asked to identify the most important change businesses should make to encourage applications from jobseekers aged 55 and over, almost four in ten (37%) respondents highlighted issues around advertising, while a third (34%) indicated that they should be providing more opportunities for older workers to upskill or reskill. Twenty percent said that businesses need to be more careful with language used in job adverts while 17 percent said that hirers need to look beyond posting jobs exclusively online. Evidence for the business case for retaining, retraining and recruiting older workers will be published by the Department for Work and Pensions in March.

Dr Ros Altmann, Business Champion for Older Workers at the Department for Work and Pensions who will publish the report said: “People are living longer and want to work for longer, and it’s vital to our economy that they do. Businesses need to act now in order to benefit from the extensive skills and experience that older workers bring. It is important not to rule out older applicants when recruiting new talent.”

Previous research published by The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise has suggested that of the 3.3 million people aged 50-64 who are economically inactive in the UK, approximately 1 million have been made ‘involuntarily workless’ due to redundancy, ill health or early retirement. Reintegrating this demographic back into the workforce could boost the UK’s GDP by up to £88 billion.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “The UK is suffering from skills shortages across the economy and at the same time businesses are telling us that they are at capacity and can’t take on more work without more staff.

“Older workers have a huge amount of experience, skill and knowledge to offer organisations. However, to encourage this talent back into the labour market employers need to be more effective at attracting them as well as potentially structuring the work differently to suit this life style.

“Simple changes to the language used in job descriptions and the way jobs are advertised could be significant. We encourage hirers to work alongside specialist recruiters who understand the benefits that older workers can bring, and who can help tailor job roles to meet their needs.”