Businesses must do more to accommodate workers over the age of 50 to successfully manage their way through a challenging economic climate and tackle labour shortages, according to workforce management firm UKG.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that those aged over 50 often took the opportunity to settle down during the pandemic. In fact, this age group saw the most significant increase of inactive people among all age groups since the start of the pandemic. The number of people aged 50 to 70 who moved from economic activity to inactivity between the second and third quarters of 2021 was 87,000 higher than in the same period in 2019.
Parallel to this, the UK unemployment rate sits at a very low 3.7%, and job vacancies continue to go unfilled. Such circumstances present a clear need to not only manage existing resources effectively and expand the workforce but also to entice early retirees back to work.
Despite this, recent research from the Chartered Management Institute suggests that businesses are less open to hiring older workers than they are younger prospective employers. Of 1,000 people managers working in UK businesses and public services, just four in 10 said they were open “to a large extent” to hiring people aged between 50 and 64.
Liam McNeill, vice-president, EMEA at UKG, said: “With so many businesses struggling to recruit enough workers to plug gaps in their teams, it’s vital that people managers show an openness to welcoming more seasoned employees back into the workplace… The UK is fast approaching recession, business leaders must assess their current workforce – which are largely Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X – and look to empower employees and managers as part of their retention strategies.”
McNeill added: “Across all industries, we’ve seen workers over 50 years of age have left the workforce en masse. To combat this, HR leaders must carefully consider the diverse needs of their employees and cater to the varying approaches to work and life. This includes allowing your people to manage their schedules and easily communicate with managers and teammates to better meet work-life balance via technology – something we like to call life-work technology – which contributes to a better employee experience and boosts the overall engagement at your organisation.
“The modern employee is yearning for an employer who values them at work and respects their life outside of it. Regardless of what generation an employee is from, we all have non-work responsibilities and want to be present for them. There is work to be done in creating a welcoming workplace that successfully meets the needs of all employees regardless of age. Today's employers must strive to create a workplace culture where employees, young and old, feel supported, inspired, and empowered to enjoy life in and outside of work.”