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The Older Workforce: an untapped resource


The University of Surrey was pleased to host the seminar ‘The Older Workforce: an untapped resource’ yesterday evening. The seminar, supported by the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce (CROW) at UniS and The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), examined both business and individual attitudes to older workers.

In all industrialised countries the population is ageing and we have more people retired than ever before, while the workforce is shrinking. This is a particular problem in the South East where there are already skills gaps and shortages. A key solution is to encourage older people to stay in work later in life, and all European countries will outlaw age discrimination in the workplace in 2006. However, little is understood about what the impact of this will be. This seminar brought together expert speakers from CROW (UniS), CIPD, the Employers Forum on Age and the University of Kent, to discuss the impact of age discrimination law, and how employers might make better use of older workers.

Professor Stephen McNair, Director of CROW, UniS, comments, ‘For employers who have not thought through the issues, the age Discrimination Law may pose real problems in managing those who want to stay longer in work and in making work attractive to those they want to stay. We hope that this seminar is contributing to greater understanding of the potential problems, and presenting ways of solving them. We are very pleased to have brought together such an expert team of speakers to explore the issues.’

Dianah Worman, CIPD Diversity Adviser, says, ‘Although the age legislation will not come into force until 2006, the complexity of age diversity means organisations would be wise to start tackling age discrimination now. They need to think creatively and work closely with managers to change mindsets towards older workers. This will help attract and retain good people, reducing valuable time and money spent on the recruitment process, advertising and temporary staff. Opening the doors to older workers is a major benefit for organisations that are facing a ‘war for talent’ and will help organisations retain knowledge and experience, widen the recruitment base, and could lead to more customers and greater profits. CIPD’s report, Challenge of the Age, sets out the challenges for business and give advice on how to cope.’

Stuart Miller | alfa
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