Acas has launched a new advisory leaflet, Employing Older Workers, to help employers make the most of the older workforce.
It addresses some of the stereotypes about them, and gives practical advice on what to consider when recruiting and managing older workers, and planning for the future.
The move comes ahead of age discrimination legislation which is due to come into force in 2006. This will set a default retirement age of 65, but will give employees a right to request to work beyond that age.
There are currently 20 million people aged 50 and over in the UK, and by 2030, this figure is expected to reach 27 million.
Acas chief executive, John Taylor, said the working population was getting older, and employers may face skills shortages when existing workers retire if they fail to ensure they do not discriminate against older workers when recruiting.
“Of course, the best way to do that is to ensure they have systems in place to make sure they are fair to all their workers, regardless of age,” he said. “This is particularly important with the legislation banning age discrimination coming into force in October next year.”
Employing Older Workers is available free of charge from Acas Publication. Call 08702 42 90 90 to order a leaflet, or go online to download a copy at www.acas.org.uk