Flexible working is the most common initiative to support the extension of working life according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The Institute said the multi-generational workforce will create “positive tension leading to innovation” but claimed many businesses are still ill-prepared to capitalise on the opportunities that an age diverse workforce can bring.
The age at which employees are retiring has risen, with the average now 66-70 years. The CIPD survey used data from 2,691 employees and 935 employers across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
Claire McCartney, research adviser at the CIPD, said: “To capitalise on these opportunities, businesses must be much more proactive. They need to do more to tap into the variety of skills an age diverse workforce can bring and ensure they are able to support the extension of working life. Practical and immediate steps they should take include employing strategies to bring in and develop talent of all ages and providing line managers with more support.”
Three quarters of the employers who have flexible working and part-time initiatives to support older workers said they were an effective way of doing so. However, on-call working and zero hours contracts were considered the least effective in supporting older workers to remain in employment.
The CIPD said flexible working is primarily provided to support people with caring responsibilities, including childcare (45%) and eldercare (36%). In fact, 38% of the employers surveyed offer flexible working options to all employees regardless of the reason. However a third of organisations reported they have no provisions in place to help carers.
There are also sector differences, with support for flexible working for caring more likely to be offered by the public and not-for-profit sectors than the private sector. Private sector representatives were more likely to say they offered no support (36%) than the not-for-profit (20%) and public (11%) sectors.
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