The CIPD recently launched new guidance on Good Recruitment for Older Workers (GROW) for employers, in partnership with the Centre for Ageing Better and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The guide focuses on age-inclusive recruitment and contains practical advice and suggestions to help employers remove age bias from their hiring processes and take advantage of older workers’ skills and experiences. 

How to support older workers

The CIPD is committed to the removal of age discrimination in organisations. CIPD research shows that age-diverse teams can benefit both individuals and their organisations. Genuine inclusion boosts workforce diversity, helps address skill and labour shortages and benefits an organisation’s reputation and brand.

Older workers looking to enter or re-enter the workforce find it generally harder than other age groups to find new employment, often as a result of discrimination or bias on the part of employers and recruiters. Age discrimination negatively impacts not only individual workers but also their families and the broader economy. 

Therefore, it is crucial that employers establish the people management policies and practices needed to recruit, train and retain an age-diverse workforce, and harness the skills and experience they have effectively. According to CIPD research, only a fifth of employers currently have a strategy agreed at the board level to manage a more age-diverse workforce. This is a statistic that needs to improve.

A lack of flexible working can also make it harder for older workers to remain in employment, particularly if they have caring responsibilities or have a disability or long-term health condition. Flexible working supports inclusion and diversity in the workforce. The CIPD is calling for flexible working requests to be a day-one right to support opportunities for all. You can read more about our #FlexFrom1st campaign here

Five key actions for employers

The GROW guide recommends five key actions for employers:

  • Put age into Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – ensuring that age as a protected characteristic is taken into consideration in ED&I policies
  • Know your numbers – regularly collecting and scrutinising age data from the recruitment process
  • Advertise without age bias– emphasising employer benefits that might appeal to older workers, and ensuring that the wording of job ads isn’t age-biased
  • Check your process – structuring the interview process using multiple decision-makers and pre-defined questions 
  • Build awareness and confidence – ensuring that staff are aware of how best to reduce bias and avoid discrimination.
Read the guide and the CIPD’s viewpoint on Age-diverse workforces

About the author

Claire McCartney, Senior Policy Adviser, Resourcing and Inclusion

Claire specialises in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion, flexible working, resourcing and talent management. She has also conducted research into meaning and trust at work, age diversity, workplace carers and enterprise and has worked on a number of international projects. She is the author of several reports and articles and regularly presents at seminars and conferences.

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