By Marcus Leach
The face of the UK’s workforce will change dramatically as a result of the Government calling time on the Default Retirement Age (DRA).
From 1st October, employers will not be able to use the DRA to compulsorily retire employees. As a result, workers will get older and companies will have to review their recruitment policies to ensure they continue to stay within the law.
Although the Government cited the healthier and longer lives of workers as the reason for scrapping the DRA, according to Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership (FSP), it also addresses age diversity in the UK’s workforce that often focuses on the younger end of the spectrum.
“The experience and benefits older employees can bring to business should be harnessed," she said.
"In these difficult economic times, older workers can add resilience to a business’ workforce offering a vital blend of hard-soft skills that allow them to react in a more productive manner to economic crises.
“This group tends to be very competent and reliable, inherently understands employer expectations and usually do not require much additional training, although such training may need to be delivered in a more flexible way. In some ways this group actually beats their younger counterparts in areas like soft skills including; attitude, work ethic, teamwork ability, problem solving and commitment by using the total sum of their life skills and work experiences — all of which are highly valued by employers.”
The legislation on 1st October will mark the completion of the phasing out of the retirement age which began in April when employers were no longer able to issue notifications for compulsory retirement using the DRA procedure. Employers are now being urged to consider a more flexible approach to recruitment and utilise the valuable skills base.
The Financial Skills Partnership is currently planning initiatives that provide emphasis on the benefits older workers can provide. Untapped resources for boards include older, experienced executives who are stepping down from their company roles who could bring vast experience as a Non-Executive Director (NED) in our sector. Likewise, senior public service figures leaving through retirement or displacement are another source of valuable expertise. FSP is looking to help the sector utilise these personnel to a greater extent in a move that will undoubtedly enhance the industry.
“The sector needs to take into account all of the disadvantages of retiring people too soon and the benefits this group can bring to an organisation - for if a company loses its ‘corporate memory’ it can have a huge impact on its business success. Both the economy and society we live in are changing and demand greater flexibility. The skills, past experience, customer knowledge and soft skills provided by older workers are therefore essential in enhancing a changing market,” Field concluded.
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