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Next week is National Older Workers Week. Here we preview all that is on offer to help improve multigenerational working in the UK.
The third National Older Workers Week launches next week with sessions on latest developments for older workers, best practice and a Careers Fair full of practical careers advice.
The Week, hosted by workingwise.co.uk, has been running since 2021. This year’s sponsors are Phoenix Group, Outcomes First Group and David Lloyd Clubs.
The Week kicks off with the unveiling of workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey results covering everything from candidates’ experiences of the recruitment process to the impact of the NHS and the cost of living crises. These will be analysed by Patrick Thomson from Phoenix Insights and Kim Chaplain from the Centre for Ageing Better. Patrick has been working on Midlife MOTs, a review for people in their 40s and 50s to see how they’re doing against financial, wellbeing and career goals, and recently spoke to workingwise.co.uk about Phoenix Insights’ report on this and about Phoenix Group’s own Midlife MOT programme.
This will be followed by a session on best practice with age-friendly employers, including Punter Southall Aspire and Saga. Steve Butler from Punter Southall Aspire, a firm that advises HR directors on pensions and benefits for employees, says that when he speaks to HR directors he talks about shaping their benefits to match different age cohorts. He states: “Your younger generation doesn’t necessarily want [very generous] death-in-service life insurance. But your older cohort may value that, and their medical insurance, without getting too much into stereotypes. It’s about looking at the demographic of your workforce and then matching the benefits to that demographic, rather than a standard set of benefits that nobody cares about.”
Lisa Edgar is Group Chief Customer Officer at Saga and leads an agency that has a strong expertise in helping organisations including Saga understand and fulfil the needs of its older consumer base and employees/target employees so she sees the age issue from both consumer and employer perspectives. She says Saga has many policies that are attractive for older workers, including grandparents leave. The next step is looking at how ageing changes what we want from work itself and how that might be reflected in work/task structure, team structure and management style.
She says: “We know that as we get past our late 40s we start to want different things from work, life and well-being. We start to value more emotional goals and start to de-prioritise more rational or acquisitional goals. We can see people in their 50s, 60s and 70s very heavily engaged in voluntary work and supporting others. In other words, they are doing work into older ages, just not getting paid for it. So the question is, if we want people to stay in work, how do we reflect that in what we are asking of people, how we motivate them and how we recognise.”
Other speakers are on the session are Michaela Gibson, Head of DEI Transformation & Programme Management at Phoenix Group, David Whitson-Black, Group Head of Talent Development at Azets and Nicky Elford, Colleague Propositions and Policy at Lloyds Banking Group.
There will also be a Q & A with All Generations Engaged who are launching an age diversity index, described as the UK’s first and only market benchmark specialising in age equity in the workplace. Speakers from Aviva and Phoenix Group joined the webinar to say why they are supporting the index.
National Older Workers Week also includes a Careers Fair with advice from experts such as Liz Sebag-Montefiore from 10Eighty and Lucy Standing from Brave Starts on career change and CV Guru Emma Alkirwi on applying for jobs. They will also be on hand to answer any questions privately and to offer one to one advice.
The Outcomes First Group will also be taking part in a Q & A session about what they have to offer older workers and we will have examples of age-friendly employers to target for those looking for jobs, including Gym Group, NOW Teach and Virtalent.
Employers around the country will be taking part and tweeting their support. They include Pizza Hut. We spoke to 70-year-old Ray Hayes who has just got his 10-year certificate at Pizza Hut about his working life story.
Gillian Nissim, founder of workingwise.co.uk, said: “The population is ageing now. As a society, we have delayed addressing the issue of age diversity in the workforce, but it cannot be avoided and those who prepare now, who have the structures in place to support a multigenerational workforce, will benefit the most.”
Workingwise.co.uk will be covering all the events and will produce a short e-book bringing together all the findings. For last year’s event it developed a toolkit for employers who are looking to improve how they attract and retain older workers.
*Find out more and register for events at www.nationalolderworkersweek.co.uk.