With the introduction of the new State Pension age in the UK, companies need to quickly and effectively adapt to the recent changes for better integration and engagement of the ageing workforce, according to Gina Le Prevost, CEO of AP Executive.
The suggestion for companies to give a better chance to over-50s and 60s comes after the official announcement for a new State Pension age in Britain from 6 April 2016, which was proposed in view of a dramatic rise in life expectancy. Currently, the state pension age is 65 for men and 63 for women; however, this is set for planned changes over the next few decades. From 2020, the State Pension age for both men and women will be 66, with an expected rise to age 67 between 2026 and 2028, and thereafter linked to life expectancy. These changes will directly impact the average retirement age, pushing it higher than it was before. Similar changes have been proposed in the Channel Islands, with Guernsey’s State Pension age expected to rise to 70 by 2025. In Jersey, the current Pension age is 65, which, under the current changes, will undergo increment by two months in every 10 months from 2020, until it reaches 67 in 2031. The average retirement age in most EU states is also expected to gradually rise to 67 by 2030, including in France, Germany, Spain, Greece and Italy.
Gina Le Prevost, commented: “With the new pension age legislations coming into place, it is important for companies to adjust accordingly and not have the historical retirement ages of 60 for women and 65 for men in their contracts and procedures. Jobseekers over 50s are now effectively able to work additionally a substantial 20 years before they reach their retirement age. This is fantastic news for people I speak to regularly who feel they are discriminated upon for being close to retirement. Companies have to adjust and embrace this new era of candidates who are now able to work longer. It gives hope to those people who feel they are too old to be able to start a new career.”
As the retirement age is slowly inching towards 70, it has become necessary for employers to take proactive steps to recruit, retain and embrace productive matured workers, maximising their potential and work performance. Given the constant technological changes, significant investment in the necessary training of the older staff is of critical importance, which coupled with the employees’ previous experience can give them a competitive advantage. When recruiting for a job, employers should consider a person’s qualification, experience and skills, without judging by the age. In fact, research shows that older employees are as productive as their younger counterparts (AgeUK Study).
A multi-generational and diverse workforce can be an asset for any company, where mature employees are engaged in mentoring and training of the younger members of staff with their vast professional experience and wise knowledge gained. The UK already has stringent age - discrimination law in place under The Equality Act 2010. Now Jersey’s new law protecting against age discrimination is expected to come into force on 1 September 2016, if approved by the States. Despite policy changes and laws against age-related discrimination, a recent report suggests a significant proportion of over-50s continue to be overlooked during hiring process due to certain age-old negative stereotypes (The Missing Million: Pathways back into employment). The representation of 50-64 year olds is particularly worse in Finance (20%), as compared to other sectors.
Gina added: “Although, age discrimination acts are in place and implemented, some companies still have presumptions and operate based on stereotypes against mature candidates. Companies should be doing all they can to retain the in-depth professional and organisational experience and knowledge this generation has developed and holds. Recruitment policies and procedures should be reviewed and job postings should not promote indirect discrimination by avoiding youth-oriented code words, such as “energetic” and “enthusiastic”.”
“Re-training of this demographic through development tools or encouraging key mature employees to stay past retirement through flexible working hours or mentoring opportunities should exist to create an inclusive and equitable workplace. Legislation on its own will not eliminate ageism in the workforce and companies have an integral part in creating an inclusive and fair environment that not only attracts, but also retains the skills of this demographic, including embracing mature generations.”
Given the advantages of an age diverse workforce, companies need to undertake measures against ageism in the workplace and facilitate entry of matured workers into the labour market.
AP Executive is a division of AP Group which opened in 1990. AP Group provides equal employer opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to sex, race, colour, National Origin, age, disability, religion, reprisal and genetic information.