There is little evidence of UK employers taking proactive steps to engage and retain older workers, suggests new reseach.

The Employment Relations Challenges of an Ageing Workforce, conducted by Cranfield School of Management and Nottingham Business School for ACAS, concludes that if the UK economy is to fully benefit from the skills and experience of its older workers, a larger proportion of organisations will need to adopt age management policies and practices which are effectively communicated to their workforces.

Report co-author, Dr Emma Parry, Principal Research Fellow, Cranfield School of Management, said:

“Despite anti-age discrimination legislation, stereotypical attitudes about both older and younger workers appear to be both widespread and well embedded.

“To overcome this, companies need a supportive culture with policies and procedures that focus on supporting and capturing the skills and experience of older workers.

“And crucially, managers need the expertise and knowledge to deliver on these organisational aims.”

John Taylor, ACAS Chief Executive, added:

“An ageing workforce brings new challenges for employers – for instance, handling flexible working requests fairly and providing training or support to develop the careers of older workers.

“Having more people working longer means that employers also need to think about the job opportunities and career progression of the rest of the workforce.

“Employers will need to ensure their business policies and procedures are applied fairly and communicated appropriately to staff.”