Workingwise.co.uk's annual survey was published last week and shows that a high number of...read more
WMPeople.co.uk’s first podcast edition is out this week and covers everything from getting older workers back to work to part-time innovation and the menopause.
We launched our first podcast this week. The bi-weekly WMPeople.co.uk podcast is a discussion of topical issues relating to our sites, workingmums.co.uk, workingdads.co.uk and, of course, workingwise.co.uk. In the first episode we talked about childcare, part-time innovation and the menopause and everything in between. A big topic in the news at the moment is the Government’s concerns about rising economic inactivity among older workers and that figured in the discussions.
The first edition featured Ben Falk, editor of workingdads.co.uk, and me. The half-hour podcast is broken down into three sections. In the first edition, we discussed childcare, including the implications for reducing rising economic inactivity figures among mums, part-time innovation and alternative ways of working, including the 4-day week, and the menopause.
The childcare discussion kicked off with news that the DWP is reportedly starting a back to work campaign for mums who have dropped out of the workplace. There has been a lot of criticism that it’s all very well about talking about returners, but that you have to understand the barriers, with childcare being consistently in the top three and perhaps more so since Covid as more providers have closed. There’s a similar discussion about older workers, with the Chancellor telling older people that there’s more to life than being on the golf course and to get back to work ‘for Britain’. The Government is said to be looking at tax cuts and benefits changes to lure older workers back – something the Bank of England has cast doubt on, pointing to health issues, including treatment delays and ‘increasing detachment’ of those who have taken early retirement. Our recent survey shows some could be tempted back, however. But the conditions need to be right. As with mums, the Government really understand the reasons people have dropped out or the challenges they face in getting back.
Older workers are, of course, not a homogeneous group. There are many reasons they dropped out during Covid. Money is not the main reason. Instead they cite feeling undervalued and fed up, in need of greater work life balance… In addition to health issues, many have caring responsibilities. Then there are the challenges getting back to work in terms of ageist hiring managers. The vast majority are not currently on the golf course. Unless you understand why people are dropping out, you won’t make a difference not only to those who have dropped out, but all those coming up who are thinking about doing the same – although the younger generation are unlikely to be able to afford early retirement. That doesn’t mean everyone can sit back and relax because they will still be feeling demotivated, disengaged, exhausted and so forth. They just won’t be able to leave. It’s a huge issue for employers and shows the need for employee engagement and diversity in all its forms to be front and centre in any HR policy.
The podcast also discussed part-time work, kicking off with recent Cranfield School of Management research on whether flexible furlough had built managers’ confidence in managing part-time staff. Despite the cost of living crisis, many – including large numbers of older workers – want a greater work life balance. So the discussion touched on other ways of working, such as portfolio work and whether flexible working will become more common as more people reach burn out.
Finally, we looked at some of the proposed changes by the Women and Equalities committee that were rejected by the government, including menopause leave and menopause discrimination legislation. On the latter the Government argued that menopause discrimination legislation could be discriminatory to men with health-related issues. Yet menopause – unlike pregnancy which is protected in law and unlike any other health condition – affects a whole group of people: women. We know that many thousands of women have dropped out of work due to the menopause. It’s great that there is more awareness of menopause now and how it affects work, but legal protection for older women must surely be enhanced.
The next podcast edition comes after our Top Employer Awards so tune in to find out more about all the discussions around best practice, HR trends and more.
*To view the podcast on Youtube, click here.