Employers need to utilise all the skills of their employees; recognising their past experience and roles.
By Mair Rowlands: Chwarae Teg – North Wales Regional Project Co-ordinator.
Research from Business in the Community ( BITC ) found that despite the abolition of the default retirement age in 2011, people over 50 who become involuntarily unemployed were “less likely” to find alternate employment. Sadly, the statistics showed that less than a third of people aged between 50 and 64 who become unemployed successfully found another job.
However, a much larger proportion of this age group who became jobless were unable to return to work, especially in comparison to their younger peers.
Having always worked full time even when my children were young, I always expected that once I was in my fifties I could start to think about some ‘me time’. I could be reducing my hours and concentrating on personal projects and activities that I had always wanted to do.
Now that I am in my fifties, in fact, fast approaching my sixties, it has come as quite a shock to discover that this is not how I see things now. Yes I want more time to myself and yes I want to pursue some personal projects and spend some quality time with my now retired husband and my grandchildren but I don’t want to have to give up my career to do so.
Ros Altmann, the Government’s Older Workers’ Business Champion, said:
Businesses across the country are waking up to the potential of older workers – as the over 50s become the fast-growing section of society and although there are still areas where youth is valued over experience, employers are beginning to recognise the value of the older workforce and what their past experiences can bring to their business.
I have over forty years of work experience behind me so I know I have a lot to offer, not just my qualifications and skills gained from my past career but also my transferrable skills from the last forty plus years in work. You certainly learn a lot bringing up two children and gain a lot of life-skills from simply just reaching this age!
It is important for employers to look at past experiences of their workforce and recognise that the roles people hold do not always reflect who they are or what they are capable of.
They are missing out on the skills and experience of a hard-working and highly skilled section of their workforce.
Rachel Saunders from CIPD believes that ‘not only are hard-working and highly skilled over 50’s workers unfairly punished but we as a country also lose out’ – something to think about.