According to a joint report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the CIPD, just 14% of UK managers consider their organisation to be well-prepared to cope with an ageing workforce, despite the impending abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) and the fact that a third of UK workers will be aged over 50 by 2020.
More than a third of the respondents (34%) taking part in the Managing an Ageing Workforce research also claim board-level recognition of ageing workforce issues is non-existent, despite the fact that the vast majority (93%) see value in retaining the knowledge and experience of older workers.
Only one in 10 (11%) suggested older workers cost their organisation more money. The report argues that the lack of board-level recognition means supportive policies are not in place and managers on the front line do not receive adequate training or support for managing older workers.
Almost half of managers are not well-informed about their organisation’s retirement policies (43%) and there is a perception that it is hard for younger employees to manage older people (59%). Respondents also claim that age discrimination still exists, with 40% having experienced it at some stage in their careers. A similar number (41%) state that their workplaces are not age-diverse.
Responding to the report, CMI’s director of policy and research, Petra Wilton, said: "The age profile of the UK workforce is changing, yet UK businesses are woefully underprepared for the impact this will have on their business. This latest research makes it clear that those at senior level in particular are failing to take the issue seriously and that discrimination is still too frequent.
Dianah Worman, CIPD’s diversity adviser, added: "In difficult economic times businesses are not galvanising the talent and skills available to help them perform more competitively. Employers will need to keep on their toes to respond appropriately to the phasing out of the DRA next year, which will have widespread implications. Clearly businesses already recognise the value of older workers, but this knowledge needs to be matched with appropriate action. We know from this latest research that managers aren’t being supported or trained appropriately in the management of older workers, for example, but it is also apparent that the needs and preferences of older workers have to be better addressed."
This article was first published on hrmagazine.co.uk