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Five Key Reasons Why Older Workers are a Commercial Imperative

In a fast-paced corporate landscape, businesses are constantly seeking innovative strategies to gain a competitive advantage. One often overlooked asset in this pursuit is the pool of experienced, older workers.

Embracing age diversity is not just a DEI box-ticking exercise; it’s a commercially sound decision with far-reaching benefits for your business. LinkedIn has identified ‘unretirement’ as the number one trend in 2024. But it’s not just about older people wanting to get back to work. It’s about the solid business case for why your company needs older workers.

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Here’s Why Hiring and Retaining The Over-50s Needs to be Your 2024 Priority:

1. Stability in The Workforce Reduces Attrition and Hiring Costs

By retaining older employees, companies can significantly reduce the recruitment and training costs associated with high turnover. This stability contributes to a more reliable and consistent workforce.

Younger workers tend to change jobs more often and stay for a shorter time than older workers. In 2019, the average job tenure of workers aged 30-54 was 10 years, and that of workers aged between 55-64 was 18 years and 10 months.(1)

Globally, older workers are more loyal to their employers. Just 50% of those aged 18-34% claimed to be loyal, compared to 61% of 55–61-year-olds.(2)

What does a lack of loyalty cost your company each year? Speak to our Age Inclusion team, who have data which can help calculate the cost savings you could make by hiring and retaining older workers.

2. Older Workers Can Think Outside the Box and Join the Dots

Numerous studies show that cognitive abilities such as critical thinking and focus improve with age.(3) Older workers approach problems methodically and make decisions judiciously – a vital asset for most businesses and one that should not be discarded easily.

There will soon be five different generations in the workforce. That mix of skills can be your greatest business asset, but only if your recruitment and retention policies are set up to develop and support multigenerational teams. See how your business compares on key age benchmarks with our R/Age Readiness score.

3. Knowledge Transfer and Succession Planning

What’s your strategy when older workers retire or leave? Do you simply wave them a fond goodbye? If the answer is yes, you’re potentially losing invaluable knowledge and experience that could cost your business considerably.

By retaining and actively engaging older workers, companies can keep hold if the vital IP that comes with experience. This safeguards the continuity of institutional knowledge, preventing critical gaps in leadership and expertise. Age-Inclusive Accreditation is just one way to demonstrate that your business takes supporting older workers seriously.

“I came here today hoping to find help with something we are looking at in First Quantum Minerals – how to retain the knowledge and experience of our older workers. But after listening to all of today’s speakers, I’ve realised this is part of a much bigger piece of work around the place of older workers in our company.” Donna Murray, Group Talent, Diversity & Inclusion Lead of First Quantum Minerals.

4. Who Are You Going to Hire?

By 2050, the UK working age population will shrink by 25%.(4) And by 2050, 30% of the global workforce will be aged 50 and older.(5)

Globally, that equates to about 150 million jobs shifting to workers 55 and older by the end of the 2020s; almost equivalent to the working US population. This shift is more pronounced in high and middle income countries.(6)

If you’re not actively hiring and building retention strategies for older workers, your competitors probably are. Who’ll be left in the talent pool by the time you decide to take that step?

An Age Data Diagnostic can give you a strategy and plan to ensure your company isn’t left on the shelf.

“It is clear there is a big business case for growth that makes the most of older workers. Every company I have worked at has always had problems with recruitment and yet older workers are a big part of the answer. It’s strange we haven’t looked at it this way before!” Laurel Dines, HR Operations Director, Randstad

5. Successful Businesses Reflect Their Customers

By 2041, the number of people aged over 65 in Western countries will increase by more than 40%.(7) This demographic also holds the majority of disposable income. In fact, by 2040, it’s predicted that 63p in every pound spent by consumers in the UK will be spent by someone aged 50 or over: it’s estimated that total spending by this group will be worth £550 billion.(8)

Businesses who reflect this demographic change when building products, developing advertising and communications and serving customers with a team who reflects this demographics’ preferences will ultimately fare better than those who overlook the spending power of the over-50s.

What’s Your Age Strategy?

As we like to say: If you don’t have an age strategy, you don’t have a growth strategy.

The commercial benefits of hiring and retaining older workers are undeniable. Beyond fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, it’s a strategic move that contributes to stability, expertise and long-term success. By tapping into the wealth of experience and skills that older workers bring to the table, your organisation can thrive, not flounder.

Unsure where to start? Talk to our Age Inclusion experts to discover how to unlock the age advantage.

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