Watch the webinar
- Mary Bright, Head of Social Affairs and Age Special Adviser, Phoenix Group
- Catriona Campbell, UK&I Client Technology and Innovation Officer, EY
- Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director, CBI
- Lyndsey Simpson, Chief Executive, 55Redefined
- Liz Moseley, Editor and Partner, Tortoise Media (Chair)
In this session:
Lyndsey Simpson – 55 redefined
- 39% of employers are less likely to recruit people over the age of 50
- 35% of employers are prepared to retrain staff over the age of 50
- 92% of workers in their mid-50s and over are prepared to take a salary cut to learn a new skill
- The main reason people over 50 leave the workforce is because they are bored
- Many people over 50 looking for a career change are also willing step down in seniority In order to do so, including those roles typically considered to be ‘junior’
- This all goes against the usual assumption by employers that older candidates would be unwilling to take a pay cut and is often met with suspicion if they say they do.
- There are still 3 key stereotypes associated with hiring older workers:
- They are more likely to get ill. This is especially exacerbated by recent public health messaging over those over 50 being more vulnerable to Covid. However, data shows that an employee over 50 is 200% less likely to take day off sick than someone in their 20s
- They lack energy and pace
- They are less innovative
- There is also a challenge around the retention of older workers. Because you can no longer encourage retirement, employees don’t know how to approach the conversation and ask for more flexible working etc. and are nervous about being considered less motivated as a result.
- There needs to be top and bottom action to instigate change and an effort to educate people in business around how to work in multi-age teams who have different work life motivations.
Catriona Campbell, UK&I Client Technology and Innovation Officer, EY
- There are severe staff shortage challenges in the UK’s tech and innovation sector, especially for data scientists, tech engineers and innovation leads.
- Catriona saw an opportunity to expand EY’s inclusive recruitment practices to neurodiverse candidates – an incredibly talented yet largely untapped talent pool.
- Last week, EY launched their first neurodiversity centre of excellence in Liverpool, which employs a different type of recruitment practice more suitable to neurodiversity to ensure candidates feel at ease with the process. This takes the form of a 4 day simulation about what it’s like for EY.
- In terms of long-term reskilling, EY runs a digital badges programme, which employees through lifelong digital learning and results in a tech MBA upon completion.
- Top-down leadership alongside grassroots actions is crucial to instilling change – if you come at it from both angles you can make the difference
Mary Bright, Head of Social Affairs and Age Special Adviser, Phoenix Group
- An Institute for Employment study found that there are 1 million people over 50 who could be in work but aren’t.
- Society has spent a lot of time and focus on women and maternity since the 1970s, but we now have 30% of the workforce over the age of 50 so we also need to think broader about employee friendly practices.
- E.g. 25% of women think about leaving work because of menopause and there are over 30 ways that menopause can manifest at work. So Phoenix Group has menopause ambassadors across the organisation to offer advice and support.
- Website imagery is hugely important as well as language in ensuring you’re not unconsciously signalling that you only want to hire young employees.
- The stereotype of being less energetic and innovative is false. In reality, someone who became an entrepreneur in their 20s will still be an entrepreneur in their 50s and they will have learned valuable lessons along the way.
- Statistically, start ups founded by entrepreneurs over the age of 50 are more likely to seed.
- Attract, recruit, retain, retrain
- Broadly we still have a model of employment from the last century yet the top searched for term on Monster Recruitment is ‘flexible work’.
- We need to remove barriers of entry to people applying, i.e. whether they can work part-time, by looking what your existing workforce want, for example prayer rooms, a better working environment etc.
- Mary was hugely optimistic that through this labour market crisis we may get to the point where this all goes from theory to practice. This is the opportunity to create the tipping point.
- We’re not there yet, but the groundwork has been laid. Diversity has been the focus for the last number of years, but the job now is to increase inclusion.
Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director, CBI
- Broadening out the way we think about D&I is going to be key to creating inclusive workplaces and tapping into wider talent pools.
- Then there will be practical steps for companies to take – not only in recruitment, but importantly in retention too through adapting ways of working, publishing D&I credentials, and improving the employee proposition including providing the opportunity for lifelong reskilling.
- The CBI recently published a CEO action plan for navigating labour shortages providing a framework for CEOs to ensure your company is leaving no stone unturned to attract, retain and enhance the productivity of the people it needs to grow.