From education to employment

Survey shows benefits of mixed aged workforce

As the UK celebrates its first Older People Day, a survey commissioned by JobCentre Plus illustrates the beliefs young and older workers hold about each other and the qualities they bring to the worklplace.

40% of older workers believe their younger colleagues teach themskills they previously did not have whilst one thirdof younger workers believe older workers are more likely to workanti-social hours than colleagues their own age.

The findings, which come as the UK celebrates the first anniversaryof the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, lift the lid onthe benefits of employing a diverse workforce for both employers andindividuals. Across the board, the results show that working in amixed aged workforce is important for both older (66%) and younger(65%) UK workers.

Lesley Strathie, Chief Executive, Jobcentre Plus commented: “Theresearch shows that having the right balance of age and skills canbring numerous benefits to establishing a complete workforce for bothemployers and employees. Both older and younger workers appreciateand learn from the qualities each brings to the workplace. Its notalways easy to get the mix right, which is why Jobcentre Plusadvisers work closely with employers and candidates to match theright opportunities with the right people.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research shows that the quality younger workers think their older colleagues(those aged 50+) primarily bringis experience (94%) whilst reliability (66%) and understanding (63%)also featured highly. Comparatively, nearly two thirds of olderworkers are impressed by their younger co-workers (aged 18-24) ability to learnquickly, be flexible (61%) and give them energy (51%). Public sectorand financial services workers show a higher level of confidence intheir younger colleagues, although overall reliability appears to bean area younger workers need to improve – only a quarter of olderworkers believed their younger co-workers to be reliable.

During the five months from October 2006 to February 2007, Jobcentre Plus helped89,438 people over the age of 50 into work and its team of adviserscontinue to offer support and advice to older workers across the UKin looking for employment. To celebrate this ongoing support,Jobcentre Plus has launched the “Wise Council”. A dedicated,online advice forum spear-headed by inventor Trevor Baylis andsupported by TAEN – The Age and Employment Network, and BT foremployers and individuals across the country, to enable older peopleto make the most of employment opportunities available.

Chris Ball, Chief Executive, TAEN said: “Tapping into a wider pool oftalent, experience and skills can help employers increaseproductivity, maintain a competitive advantage and improve the bottomline. We are committed to helping older people maintain asatisfactory quality of life and reports such as this demonstrate therole older people can and continue to play in daily working life.”

Aaron McCormack, BT Age Champion and CEO BT Conferencing said: “At BTwe strongly believe that age should not be a factor when assessing anemployees merit, individuals should be assessed on their skills andattributes. Teams of varying ages put us in the best possibleposition to truly understand our customers needs, while alsobenefiting from the diverse pool of views, opinions and experiences.”

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