As well as more support for working carers, all five countries recognised a growing need to address the wider issue of how to optimise older workers’ active participation in the labour market and support increasingly extended working lives. Older workers still experience prejudice from employers, colleagues and society in general, with stereotypical attitudes often reflecting misconceptions about their flexibility, health, ability to learn and their general skills and qualification levels. The research shows the scope for creating more age-inclusive workplaces in the UK – indeed, CIPD research has shown that employees value working in an age-diverse organisation, with benefits such as knowledge-sharing, enhanced customer experience and different perspectives.
Ms Stuff added: “We need to encourage all employers to see older workers as an opportunity rather than a challenge. With a wealth of experience and transferable expertise, they can benefit the wider workforce and the business as a whole. Although it can be challenging for employers to counter people’s broader societal perceptions, ignoring the issues can hinder effective, intergenerational working.
“The Government has already made significant reforms to create fuller working lives but we need to speed up progress to make this a reality. Employers have a responsibility to create an inclusive and age-diverse working environment where people of all generations feel comfortable and appreciated by management and their peers, regardless of age. The HR profession is in a perfect position to embed these cultural changes and stimulate the creation of workforces that can flex and adapt to meet the needs of all employees.”
Baroness Altmann said: “Employers should take advantage of the skills and experience that older workers can bring to the workplace. This is why we are developing an employer-led strategy with some of the UK’s biggest employers to ensure older workers get the support they need to be able to enjoy fuller working lives. With today’s report, I am delighted to have the CIPD’s support in raising awareness and understanding amongst employers of the value that older workers can bring.”