Denise Keating, CEO of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion comments on the Government’s announcement to award large cash lump sums to companies and charities when they find work for unemployed youths.
“Whilst it’s incredibly important to help get young people into work “ and we fully applaud any initiatives that are going to do this – we must also remember that there is another forgotten generation at the other end of the age scale.
With average life expectancy increasing, it is vital that society adapts alongside this. With rising life expectancies, individuals staying fitter for longer and in some cases decreasing wealth of those over the age of 60, it was simply archaic to assume that someone’s age is an indicator of the contribution they can make to the workplace. People now have good reason to keep on working as long as possible.
Age has always been the biggest discriminator in the workplace, and now that the default retirement age has been abolished, we are at last moving in the right direction.However more still needs to be done.
We have seen a very high instance of age-related unfairness “ particularly when people are selected for a new job or promotion only if their face fits, which unfortunately means some people feel that talent isn’t enough to overcome such prejudices. Whilst many companies have solid diversity policies, this may not run throughout the company, which is an issue that needs to be addressed. It is important that employers do all they can to ensure this does not lead to discrimination or favouritism of any kind, which could cause the exclusion of talented individuals from the workplace.
A new approach, with an age diverse workplace is clearly vital.Â We work with many companies who removed the mandatory retirement age a long time ago and have all reaped the benefits of employing a multi-age workforce. They know that variation in the workforce brings fresh ideas and perspectives from which companies will always benefit. Ultimately, forward-looking employers know that age diverse workforces are effective, productive and motivated.