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Acas Age Audit tool informs your workforce strategy

It's predicted that over 20 million Britons will be over 65 within 30 years. That's why many argue that employees will have to work longer to keep the national economy on track.

Analysts point to an unsustainable situation in which there are many more pensioners than active workers; in some large organisations such as the armed forces, there are already at least twice as many pensioners as workers.

But rather than see the emerging demographic landscape as a problem, is it possible for employers to turn it to their advantage? Could they do more to make the most of older people, harnessing their experience in an ever-expanding market?

One thing is for sure - employers would be foolish to ignore this fastest-growing section of the workforce, particularly when they are recruiting, training, promoting and retaining staff.

Age is also a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. That means it is generally unlawful to treat someone worse because of age in the workplace unless an employer can objectively justify it.

Age Audit Tool

That's why Acas, in partnership with the Age Research Centre at Coventry University, has developed an Age Audit tool.

The tool is free, and will help employers get a handle on what their staff think about age, and how age-related issues are treated in their organisation.Not only that, it's designed to take stock of an organisation's approaches and policies to age, and create a firm foundation for their future direction.

It also helps identify and address any risks or issues that could potentially lead to discrimination claims.

Using a traffic light colour-coding system, the tool enables users to highlight areas of greatest concern, and prioritise any interventions that need to be made.

Areas commonly under the microscope include:

  • perception - how employees view age in the workplace
  • recruitment, selection and retention - for example, using appropriate language to advertise vacancies, and giving age-awareness training to those involved with recruitment and selection
  • training and advancement - making it easier for older workers to attend training, and finding ways to tailor courses to their needs
  • job design - changing job roles to suit the needs of older employees
  • flexible working - providing more flexibility as workers' needs change
  • retirement - regular discussions with employees thinking about retirement, and effective management training on how to approach this often sensitive period.

Acas publications and services

Create your first session with the free Age Audit tool and follow the simple on-screen instructions.

Acas has published pdf icon Age and the workplace: a guide for employers and employees [336kb], to help you eliminate Age discrimination in your workplace, helping to attract, motivate and retain staff.

Acas can visit your workplace and raise staff awareness on issues surrounding age, age discrimination and diversity; see Equality and diversity: how Acas can help.

Acas also offers practical training on issues surrounding Age and the repeal of the Default Retirement Age, and Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010.

If you have questions about Retirement or need free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue, call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100, or consult Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

This news content or feature has been generated by a third party. Commentary, opinion and content do not necessarily represent the opinion of Acas.

We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.

This news content or feature may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium for research, private study or for internal circulation within an organisation, subject to accurate reproduction.

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