Mature Workers fill Skills Gap
More than 60 per cent of small firms have increased the number of mature workers they employ over the last 12 months, as they cannot find the skills they need in younger recruits, according to employment law firm Peninsula.
The research also revealed that 77 per cent of small firms found mature workers to be more loyal and reliable than their younger colleagues, and 78 per cent believed older workers to be effective mentors for younger employees.
According to British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) spokesman, Sam Turvey:
“At a time when we’re missing key skills among the younger generation, mature workers can add real value to businesses and also contribute by bringing through younger employees,”
Since October 2006, age discrimination regulations have made it illegal to treat any employee unfavourably because of their age. Firms are also legally bound to avoid recruiting with a specific age group in mind.
“It’s important when recruiting to look at the skill set an applicant has, not their age,”
said Employers Forum on Age (EFA) spokeswoman, Beth Vaughn.
“Actively recruiting older workers is potential discrimination because it looks at age rather than at the skill set.
“It’s also key for employers to encourage age diversity, but not when this is at the expense of discriminating against younger applicants,” she said.
Peninsula’s managing director, Peter Done, added:
“Mature workers are now viewed as a credit to the workplace rather than a hindrance. Employers are now realising just how beneficial a diverse workforce can be, but more needs to be done to abolish stereotypical myths about older workers.”
According to the EFA, small firms need to ensure they take the following steps when recruiting:
- Remove age limits from job adverts.
- Ensure that any recruitment agency they use does not exclude people based on age.
- Avoid asking for age–related information on an application form.