Since 2009 more people are leaving the workforce than entering . The lack of skilled workers coming through the ranks and retirement of older workers is starting to take effect.
According to the Office for National Statistics over the last 25 years the population aged 65 and over has increased by 1.7 million people. By 2034, they predict that 23 per cent of the population is projected to be aged 65 and over compared to just 18 per cent aged under 16.
The government has implemented a range of employment-prolonging measures such as extending the flexible working regulations, the introduction of age discrimination legislation and the inevitable increase in the default retirement age. Employers must take this issue seriously and assess the likely impact on their own businesses and then take the necessary measures to alleviate the issue.
So what measures should companies consider?
Well let’s remember that the key objective is to retain the skills, experience and productivity that our older workers offer. That means being mindful of their needs and adjusting their working conditions accordingly.
Without doubt older workers are looking for a better work life balance with many of them having to support both their own families and aging parents. Flexible working arrangements really assist employees in this situation by helping to strike that work-life balance and keep them engaged. Remember, flexible working also benefits your company too. Flexible work contracts mean you can better align your staffing to business demand, thereby reducing wasted labour hours and improving productivity.
Retaining employees that are in the enviable position of being able to dictate when they retire requires organisations to provide meaningful and interesting work. By making jobs more attractive, continuing to provide opportunities to broaden their skill set and getting them involved with the training and mentoring of younger workers, those older employees are more likely to remain loyal and engaged. Never forget that engaged employees have a direct impact on your ability to drive revenue and profit from your organisation.
Technology in the form of Workforce Management plays a crucial role in helping companies to manage their ageing workforce. It ease’s the burden of managing the significant increase in flexible working requests. Workforce Management maximises the business benefits of flexible working by automatically aligning staff schedules to customer demand.
Absence management helps employers spot unusual absence trends and those early signs of serious health problems. Currently ill health is the major cause of early retirement.
In the not too distant future the workforce will look entirely different to that of today; we are already seeing older workers holding the ace cards like never before. Many organisations are embracing change by implement processes and systems to support the needs of older workers. For those that haven’t I’d suggest you start to assess the impact that the ageing workforce will have on your business.