Ignoring older employees will only lead to bigger skills gaps

The University of Surrey’s recent study, which revealed that HR professionals are guilty of age discrimination when it comes to training and development, is a real worry for UK businesses. (Personnel Today, 16 January).

With an increasing number of the population approaching retirement age – and fewer skilled workers entering the workforce – HR professionals need to change their view of the over-50-year-old workforce.

What is particularly alarming is that the survey showed that those workers aged under 30 were significantly more likely to be favoured by employers for training opportunities – suggesting that the majority of the UK workforce isn’t receiving the training it requires.

With a lack of skilled employees entering the workforce, many employers have to retrain staff to fill vacancies. If this is limited to those under a certain age, the potential pool shrinks even more.

While some organisations are putting succession plans in place, without the necessary training to support their plans, businesses will be left with huge skills gaps over the next few years.

Alun Cope-Morgan, president, Saba

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