Innovating for older workers

An event this week focused on innovative plans to improve the world of work for older workers, with an emphasis on providing good work and addressing outdated stereotypes.

light bulb ideas


We need not only to overturn stereotypes about older workers and overcome ageism in the recruitment process but to provide jobs that promote good health, a pitching event for innovative ideas about future working heard this week.

The event featured some of the projects shortlisted in the International Longevity Centre UK’s Work for tomorrow competition, supported by IRC4HR. The final awards ceremony will be held in Newcastle in person or virtually on 22nd March, where the winners will be announced.

Those pitching included Sergio Sarapiao from Labora in Brazil. Labora is an HR start-up which aims to reframe the workplace. It has created an online community of older workers to whom it offers career pathways and opportunities to reskill and be mentored as well as to connect and feel more confident.

The overall aim is to change the traditional way of hiring and avoid unconscious bias by offering employers a way of matching skilled candidates with the jobs available via an app rather than having to go through the cv/interview process.

It provides two models for finding work. The organisation can work with a particular employer to place them and reskill a significant group of older workers for them. For those companies not yet ready to offer this opportunity the company also proposes a gig-type solution which aims to show employers the benefits of hiring older workers. This entails workers being contracted on a self-employed basis for a year. Workers are able to specify flexible hours and the job has to be one that guarantees their health and a sense of belonging and enables them to grow their skills. Labora monitors their health regularly using a World Health Organisation protocol.

“We want to reinvent work as a benefit for health,” said Sarapiao, adding that it is a model that is good for everyone.

Another initiative pitched at the event is Maturious, an Australian organisation which aims to match jobs with mature talent and provide training to older workers looking to find new jobs or move jobs. Once again it bypasses the normal recruitment process of hiring via cvs and instead focuses on skills matching and aims to change how employers think about age, with the focus on providing good work for older people.

Other pitches at the event came from:

  • Ageing Workforce Ready from Australia who also focus on wellbeing and mental health – currently in the transport sector, on myth busting and equipping managers with the skills to have sensitive conversations about capacity changes as people age;
  • 55Redefined’s plan to offer employers age-conscious bias training, best practice and guidance on the actions they can take to become more age-friendly and to provide over 55s with an online career and life audit so they understand the implications of greater longevity and are able to work for longer;
  • US-based Please ignore us’s podcast which aims to smash stereotypes about older workers through a series of anonymous interviews that highlight their skills and experience.

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