Stepping up support for 50+ workers: New employer tools and guidance

Claire McCartney, Senior Resourcing and Inclusion Adviser at the CIPD, reflects on the launch of an age-inclusive recruitment toolkit by the Centre for Ageing Better in collaboration with CIPD and REC. 

The newly-released recruitment tools provide simple and practical advice on:   

  • Creating a more inclusive job advert – this helps address a number of issues that an older applicant may face, such as removing stereotypical language, assessing flexible working options, and greater clarity on the recruitment process.  
  • Creating an interview invitation and scheduling form – this helps provide all the relevant information in a straightforward way, as many older applicants may not have had recent experience with recruitment. This form also provides a simple way for the applicant to raise any reasonable adjustments they require for the interview.   
  • How to talk about flexible working with candidates during recruitment – this guidance will help hiring managers and their HR colleagues in planning ahead. As flexible working is a significant driver for older applicants in considering jobs, this guidance can provide your organisation with ways to adapt and improve processes. 

It is likely that older job applicants will feel more confident and informed about applying for jobs with employers who take action on the toolkit’s simple and practical advice.   

Helping to increase the number of 50+ people returning to work has been a key focus of the UK Government this year but there still remains a significant shortfall with in excess of 200,000 more workers aged 50-64 economically inactive this year than before the pandemic. 

CIPD perspective 

The CIPD is committed to the removal of age discrimination in organisations. Our research shows that age-diverse teams can benefit both individuals and their organisations. Genuine inclusion with equality of opportunity boosts workforce diversity, helps address skill and labour shortages and benefits an organisation’s reputation and brand. 

Given our ageing population in the UK, the proportion of 50+ workers in the workforce is expected to increase, especially if retirement age rises in the future. It is, therefore, crucial that employers establish the people management policies and practices needed to harness the skills of an age-diverse workforce.  

According to our research, only a fifth of employers currently have a strategy agreed at board level to manage a more age diverse workforce. Other research with Reed found that just 18% of organisations focused on age diversity and inclusion during the previous five years.  

These are statistics that need to improve…..! 

To harness the skills and experience 50+ workers possess, employers need to improve the way they recruit, train and retain workers. As such, we are delighted to support these new practical tools aimed at supporting age-inclusive recruitment and retention and will promote them across our membership to support good practice in this area.

Why use the toolkit? 

Benefits to age-inclusive recruitment include:  

  • Increasing productivity and knowledge-sharing. 
  • Boosting their reputation as an age-inclusive workplace. 
  • Mitigating the discrimination felt by older and younger jobseekers alike. 
  • Ensuring their organisation is prepared for an ageing workforce. 

Key actions for age-inclusive recruitment 

Finally, the toolkit recommends the following actions for age-inclusive recruitment: 

  1. Put age into Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) 
  2. Know your numbers 
  3. Debias your job adverts 
  4. Check your process 
  5. Build awareness and confidence 

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  • I'm 74 this year.   I didn't realise I needed 'help and support etc.,,' at 50 plus. Might some over 50s find the  age inclusive  recruitment tool kit slightly patronising?

    in the last 20 years I've done three long distance canoe trips in Canada  Each over 200 miles long and both in very remote areas with little chance of resuce if anything went wrong.

    I was also runner up in the Fort Smith Indian games, competing against a very age diverse group.   I also met a local cree  native who was still canoeing (and hunting) over huge distances every winter  and on his own at 83.

    I've been mountaineering in Spain, Ireland, Scotland and Norway in the last 15 years and done several exposed routes alone with no rope or support.

    In 2017 I became a radio amateur.  I hadn't done morse code since leaving the Royal Navy in 1974,   I was still able to recall everything I knew from when I was in my 20s.