Wednesday, 15 October 2008

UK employers win international award for best practice around workers over 50

Four UK employers are among ten international companies to win an award for best practice in recruiting, developing and retaining workers over 50.

The AARP International Innovative Employer Awards are designed by AARP, a US-based non-profit organisation representing 40 million members aged 50 and over, and supported by TAEN, The Age and Employment Network. The awards promote best practice from employers around the world, focusing global attention on how the skills and talents of older workers are being utilised.

A number of factors were considered when selecting this year's winners from the pool of international companies that applied, including recruiting practices; workplace culture; lifelong learning and education; job training opportunities; alternative work options such as flexible scheduling, job sharing and flexible retirement.

Of the ten winners, the four UK organisations to receive the award were:

  • Agewell - Sandwell Primary Care Trust
  • BT Group plc
  • Centrica plc
  • Domestic & General Group Limited

Sally Ward, People and Policy Manager, BT Group, said:

"Creating a workplace where people of all ages are encouraged to remain actively employed is vital to attracting and retaining the most talented people, and therefore providing the best possible service to our customers."

Mike O'Brien, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, commented:

"I am delighted to see four UK businesses receiving this award. Good employers are alive to the value of older workers, spotting a growing pool of talent that many other businesses still miss out on. For the employee the benefits are obvious. The traditional 'one size fits all' approach to retirement does not suit everyone so rather than a sudden stop, they can choose to step down gradually from work. More employers need to respond to this trend and in turn, their businesses will benefit from the experience, loyalty and skills older workers can bring."

AARP Innovative Employer Award summaries

Agewell - Sandwell Primary Care Trust

  • Midlife Future Planning programme helps employees consider changes faced in later life
  • Flexible work arrangements giving employees a work/life balance
  • No mandatory retirement age

BT Group

  • Achieving Balance portfolio of flexible working arrangements help employees make transition from full-time employment to retirement
  • Career Life planning Tool assists employees in developing careers at every stage


  • Age action group delivering an ageing workforce action plan
  • Age awareness e-learning package for managers and employees
  • Flexible work policies and carers network

Domestic & General Group

  • Recruitment strategies to attract and retain older workers
  • Recruitment and assessment materials tailored to resonate with various generations
  • Telephone interviewing used in first stage of hiring process to avoid age-bias
  • Employees as Age Ambassadors representing the company at recruitment fairs

From the Age Positive website

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