A Hidden Workforce

The hidden workforce -age discrimination in the workforce

A Hidden Workforce? Times are changing

Due to several factors, the socio-economic landscape is changing in the UK, one of the main reason’s being the improved health of older workers – are they our hidden workforce? We look at the issue of age discrimination in the workforce – and the potential of older workers in the workplace.

When the employment market is facing one its longest stretches of a shortage of skilled candidates, it makes sense to take advantage of our more experienced workers.

We need to look past the stigma of age and embrace the potential of this emerging demographic.
Traditionally, workers in the 50s, 60s and 70s are considered too old to work, sadly many of us are stuck in this mindset and employers often can’t see beyond a date of birth. Aren’t we all so much more than just a name and a date of birth ;0).

Let’s get ourselves outside of this box and look at individuals as a whole package, not just their CV, education and date of birth. As let’s face it – how many of use all of those qualifications we studied so hard for back in our teens and early twenties?

Let’s look at the positives in extending people’s careers, keeping them out of retirement and boredom and redeploying their knowledge and skills into the workplace.

Could forward-thinking organisations use this to their advantage and use potentially more experienced staff to help plug the skills shortage gap?
The positivity that companies give to the youngest tier of the workforce coming out of education into the workforce, should be turned on its head, Let’s see the value of our older workforce – who are often not wanting to retire.

Without wanting to state the obvious, here are some advantages to hiring the ‘older’ employee:

  1. Experience – not just in the workplace, but of the bigger picture, life too!
  2. Long-term – If you employ someone of an older age, they’re less likely to job hop, they like job security as much as you do.
  3. Flexibility – Some companies may need part-time workers at this level,
  4. Knowledge & Skills-  Many years of working skills that you can utilise to the benefit of your company
  5. Reliable – Usually, as we get older we become more reliable :0)

This year has been cited by some as the year of the ‘Returnship’.
Most commonly these have been targeted towards middle-aged women who return to the workplace after having children. But let’s open this out to our older generation of workers who aren’t yet ready to hang up their working boots.

Quick recap: Returnship
“Returnships are higher-level internships which act as a bridge back to senior roles for experienced professionals who have taken an extended career break. They are professionally-paid short-term employment contracts, typically of 3-6 months, with a strong possibility of an ongoing role at the end of the programme. Participants take on commercially significant work based on their skills, interests and prior experience, obtaining a supported route back to a professional role.”

Related Dovetail articles:
What’s on the cards for 2018?

Explore more from our blog here...