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Age Diversity: Why we need over-50s in the workforce

A recent BBC article looking at age diversity in the UK workforce has delved into employer attitudes around hiring older workers and the impact it is having on the workforce. The article details the fact that the UK workforce is currently 300,000 people short in employment compared to pre-pandemic numbers, and filling that gap will require businesses to change their mindsets about the demographics they hire and be a little more broadminded.

As it stands, a mere 42% of managers in UK businesses were open “to a large extent” to hiring people aged between 50 and 64, compared to 74% of managers when asked about their inclination towards hiring 18-34-year-olds.

There are a huge number of benefits to ensuring age diversity in your business. In this article, we look at some of the key ones, and consider how it’s beneficial to businesses to not only hire talent from the ‘older’ generations into current roles, but also to actively carve out more opportunities to bring them on-board.

Age diversity in the UK

The UK has long been celebrated for its demographic diversity, and age is no exception.

Within business, as in life in general, age diversity allows for an inter-generational exchange of wisdom and knowledge. The older population has decades of experience that can be passed on to the younger generations, providing invaluable insights into life and business. The younger generations also bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm, which can provide an invigorating boost to their elders. The value of this exchange is equal on both sides; everyone gains, it’s a genuine ‘win-win’ situation.

Age diversity also serves to promote greater understanding between groups. By being regularly exposed to people from different backgrounds and experiences, individuals are able to gain valuable insights into different lifestyles – helping them become more tolerant and patient in their interactions with others. While tolerance and patience are often developed as a result of experience and age, acquiring these skills at an earlier age can be a real bonus for the recipient, and for their employer.

Age diversity and the workforce

In terms of business, having a wide range of ages can contribute towards improved team performance and productivity. Older workers often have greater experience working in teams and problem-solving, while younger employees can bring creative energy and the latest technical skills to the table (although let’s not make too many broadbrush statements about this, being over 50 doesn’t automatically make you a techophobe, there are many highly technically-sophisticated members of the over 50 group too). This combination can help businesses reach new heights – offering customers solutions they might not have thought possible before.

Finally, age diversity is essential if Britain wants to remain competitive globally, by ensuring it’s well-positioned to attract top talent from across the world. Highly skilled workers from any age group will find themselves welcomed by diverse UK companies where everyone feels valued for their contribution regardless of their background or experience.

Through companies embracing workers from all walks of life, the nation remains at the forefront of a changing global economy where innovation is key. Age diversity has many positive effects on businesses, from improved team performance and productivity to enhanced customer satisfaction. By embracing workers from a wide range of demographics, companies benefit not only financially but also socially as they become champions for change in a rapidly evolving world.

Over-50s and the job market

The workforce is suffering from these attitudes towards older candidates, and missing out by not embracing the full breadth of talent available. Unfortunately, despite the obvious benefits that age diversity brings, many businesses have traditionally been reluctant to hire older candidates and miss out as a result. As a business, it’s worth carefully reviewing your hiring criteria for roles. Bringing together the experience, skills and approach of older talent and pairing this with the skills, energy and approach of younger generations can create high performing teams of problem-solvers, all to the benefit of your clients, customers and business growth.

One organisation working to help fill the age gap is the Age Diversity Network, founded by Michael O’Reilly (himself over 50), in an effort to educate businesses on the benefits of hiring older workers and build a positive multi-generational workforce.

As more companies realise the benefits, we’ll likely see an improvement in training, development and onboarding procedures too. With strong candidates in short supply, we predict a great push for older talent in the near future, and we’ll start seeing this reflected in ads, interviews and remuneration packages.

At CJ Talent, we have always welcomed candidates of all ages. We understand that with age comes experience, knowledge, and a level of professionalism that is a huge asset to teams and businesses.

We work with a range of innovative, forward-thinking companies that offer flexible, hybrid and remote senior opportunities. These businesses are actively looking for the range of skills and experience that the over 50s can offer.

If you’re looking for a new role or to rejoin the workforce, and you have skills and experience in finance, marketing, HR, legal or operations, we’d love to help. Contact us today for a no-obligation chat about how we can support you in your career or go straight ahead and register now.

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