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Age opportunity a best practice guide for recruiters

The number of older workers is set to increase significantly over the next few years – between 2012 and 2022 there will be an extra 3.7 million workers aged between 50 and state pension age, coupled with fewer young people entering the world of work. While many businesses understand the demographic changes, worries about staying on the right side of the law and often misconceived stereotypes can create barriers for older workers.

This joint initiative between the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Age UK aims to highlight the skills and experience of the older workforce whilst enshrining best practice in the permanent and temporary recruitment of those over 50.

Key recommendations

Age UK and the REC call upon recruiters to commit to the following recommendations when engaging with older workers:

&middot           Understand the benefits of recruiting older workers and promote the business case for employing this age group to your clients. Consider your client’s requirements alongside the full talent pool of candidates, to decide who might be the best fit for each job.

&middot           Look beyond the stereotypes. Age is not an indicator of ability and studies have shown that the perception of older workers being less productive is simply not accurate. It is critical not to dismiss an individual as “too experienced”, “overqualified” or “out of touch” – instead explain to clients what an individual may be able to bring to the job.

&middot           Provide information, advice and training to recruitment staff to help them understand and overcome the barriers faced by older jobseekers.  For instance, some returners to the jobs market may need advice on their CV so it reflects current recruitment practices.

&middot           Be mindful of the language used in job adverts, which could constitute indirect discrimination. For instance words like “energetic” or “vibrant” can imply the desire for a younger worker and can often discourage older jobseekers from applying.

&middot           Seek to use a diverse range of platforms to advertise jobs, as some older people are less likely to access jobs via social media or on the internet. This will help you and your clients attract candidates from a wider talent pool.

&middot           Designate an internal advocate for older people. Appointing a specialist within the organisation can enable them to highlight the challenges facing older workers and advocate their skills and experience to clients.

&middot           Forge links wherever possible with welfare-to-work providers and Jobcentre Plus. Many older jobseekers are unaware that specialist recruiters exist in their sectors by developing links in these areas, recruiters potentially have the opportunity to access – and place - a wider pool of talented, older candidates

Want to find out more about what you can do for older workers? Come along to our Diversity in Recruitment Conference!

For more information and guidance on recruiting and managing older workers, go to:

&middot         Help and Support for Older Workers, Department for Work and Pensions (2015)

&middot         Employing Older Workers: An employer’s guide to today’s multi-generational workforce, Department for Work and Pensions (2013)

&middot         DWP Employer Toolkit: Guidance for Managers of Older Workers, Age Action Alliance

&middot         Age UK

&middot         ACAS

&middot         Equality and Human Rights Commission

&middot         The Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion

&middot         TheAge and Employment Network

&middot         The 50 Works Guide for welfare to work providers


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