Royal Society of Public Health report on attitudes to ageing – Business in the Community says employers should seize opportunity for older workers

Today (8 June), the Royal Society for Public Health has published a report on how attitudes to ageing affect health and wellbeing. The report finds that ageist views are held across the generations, and that an ageing society is viewed by many as a challenge rather than an opportunity.

Responding to the report, Catherine Sermon, Employment Director, Business in the Community, said: “It’s very concerning that these negative attitudes to older people persist, and that this, often inadvertently, transfers to how they are viewed at work. Many older workers are written off as being uninterested in training and development opportunities or unable to adapt to new technologies. They then face ageism in the recruitment process – they are 4.3 times less likely to be invited to interview than their younger counterpart, despite having the same skills, interests and more experience. But with more people staying in work for longer, a rising state pension age and a projected skills gap of 7.5 million by 2022, it’s vital that employers invest in older workers in order to help them stay in work and benefit from their skills and experience.

“Against this backdrop of business need, too many older workers are not working.  Business in the Community is working with employers to increase the number of older workers by 12% by 2022, which requires more pace and scale of change than will be achieved simply by the natural demographics of an ageing society.  We urge all employers to publically commit to help us achieve this goal.

“Businesses can do more to support their older workers by making training and development opportunities more accessible, promoting a culture of lifelong learning, better targeting support, and introducing mid-life career reviews. Additionally, encouraging cross-generational working through intergenerational networks and different generations sharing skills and experience can help older workers feel more engaged, as well as improving productivity and staff retention. These actions will show that employers truly value people of every age within their workforce and help to shift perceptions of older people in society.”