Seven ways to welcome the over-50s back to work

Research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests age discrimination remains a persistent issue in the workforce with the over-50s often being treated as unskilled and culturally unfit.

It’s easy to generalise but several studies have suggested that older employees are more likely to have a great work ethic, be loyal, less likely to call in sick, and are more motivated by community and mission as opposed to perks and salary – all a great attraction to employers.

Their greater life experience may also bring qualities of resilience and broader perspective which some employers find frustratingly lacking in younger hires.

With reportedly half a million people aged 50 to 64 who would actively like to be in work, here are seven ways that you can tap into this over-looked bank of talent.

1. Think about where you advertise your roles
It’s easy to forget that not everyone searches for jobs on LinkedIn or similar platforms. Don’t underestimate the power of advertising in local magazines and newspapers or even dropping a postcard in local shops. It’s also worth re-thinking any stigma and striking up a relationship with your local job centre.

2. Make your language inclusive and accessible
When advertising, use age-inclusive language to ensure everyone feels they have a chance of success. Scan and remove any tech language; and consider a blind application process that removes non-essential info to indicate someone’s age.

3. Consider their relevant experience
Many job application forms ask for a full working history and this can be pretty challenging for people with 30 plus years of employment. Perhaps instead ask for recent work history, skills and experience that pertain purely to the role, as opposed to asking people to remember (and then list out) years and years of an entire career history.

4. Flexible working may appeal
There are all kinds of reasons why the over-50s may prefer a job share, part-time work or flexible hours including time-off to care for relatives or existing childcare commitments for grandchildren.

5. Invest in training
This is one of the biggest barriers to entry and there’s lots that employers can do such as one-off skills-based training days or working with other local businesses to host more regular training (and networking events) for the over-50s.

6. Think about what kind of incentives may attract them
A health cash plan or private medical insurance may be desirable. Incentives don’t necessarily need to be financial. Sometimes it’s about using positive language to reinforce the hugely positive mental health impacts that gainful employment can bring – and the financial boost to quality of life (not to be underestimated during a cost of living crisis).

7. Think creatively about support
All employees may appreciate channels of support. So as part of this wider thinking, consider the needs of over-50s who may be changing career, or suddenly find themselves amongst much younger colleagues. Perhaps think about a reverse mentoring scheme where tech-savvy staff can support older employees in things like technology and social media.

Read more and get help from the HR Dept.

Seven ways to welcome the over-50s back to work

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