Saturday, 21 March 2009

How Age Diversity Can Help Business during Downturn

Nicola Brewer, the Chief Executive of the United Kingdom's Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that employers who retain the skills and experience of older workers will be better placed to emerge from the recession. Speaking at a one-day conference organized by the Commission and the Age and Employment Network on "Age Diversity in the Downturn," she also argued that the economic downturn should not be used as an excuse to justify redundancy on the grounds of age.
"We already have more people in the UK over state pension age than under 16, and, within 15 years, a third of the workforce will be over 50. Embracing the skills of older workers should be a top priority--unless we are prepared to miss out on a third of the available talent pool."
Her words were echoed by The Commission's Policy Director Alan Christie, Policy Director at the Commission, who said "We must stop stereotyping and worrying about how many candles a worker has on their next birthday cake, instead of looking at what they can offer. It's important to recognise that flexibility can help business weather the difficult times and prepare for the recovery, by attracting and retaining vital talent and skills, including older workers."

All everyone has to do now is to persuade the 2 large employer groups, CBI and the IOD - Oh! - and of course the Government.

This week I have been at Westminster trying to find out the policies of the Tories and the Lib Dems on this. I have yet to get definitive answers but as soon as I do I will post here of course.


Anonymous said...

Well, you don't need to persuade the IoD, at least, any more. I'm writing a policy paper for launch in the Autumn - the Roadmap for Retirement Reform 2009 - which will look positively at how older workers can addreal value in business. The impossibility of funding a 30 year retirement from a 35 year working life means continued employment is a vital, legitimate, strategy for the "baby boom" generation. There's no doubt we will see a lot more elder workers, at all levels, in future - and elder entrepreneurs, too.


Barrie Hopson said...

That is really great news. As an previous member of the IOD I was disappointed in the official line quoted to me so am delighted that you are now spearheading a change of policy.