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Are you managing age diversity effectively?

The idea of pensioners blowing their retirement savings on a new Lamborghini was one of the more striking images to have emerged from the last Budget.

The rule change that will allow pensioners to cash in their pension pots is just one more of the demographic, social and economic developments that is redefining the relationship between age and the workplace.

Ageing workforce

Commentators believe that a combination of rising life expectancy, dwindling savings and likely increases in the state pension age will make it necessary for more people to work longer.

As things stand, 1 per cent of employers have employees aged 64 and over. But recent research indicates that the number of economically active people aged 65 and above will increase by a third over the next decade.

The population itself is getting older, with an increase in people aged 65 and over set to go up by 42 per cent by 2030, while in the same period the 16-to-24 age group will grow by only 3 per cent.

The authors of the report The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030 at UKCES said that this meant 'workplaces will become more multi-generational, with four generations working together.'

Managing age diversity

The changes present new challenges for employers in how to manage age diversity. This might include promoting team-working between age groups, support in how to prepare for ageing, provision of occupational health, reduced or flexible hours, and opportunities to help with financial planning and care planning.

Planning for making the most of an age-diverse workforce is likely to begin by finding out how many workers are approaching retirement age and what the impact of their retirement would be in terms of loss of knowledge, expertise and productivity.

But a recent study from the CIPD found that nearly half of line managers are not trained in promoting team-working in age-diverse teams, and less than a third of employers have an HR strategy for managing their ageing workforce.

Acas publications and services

Acas has published a discussion paper pdf  The employment relations challenges of an ageing workforce [92kb], which looks in detail at the issues created by demographic changes in the workplace.

Acas experts can visit your organisation, audit its culture, and raise staff awareness of age discrimination. See Equality and diversity: how Acas can help for details.

Practical training is also available on Age and the workplace, Disability discrimination and Staff retention.

For free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.


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