Almost 90 per cent of HR professionals are aware of the pressures created by the UK’s ageing workforce, but say they are still reluctant to employ older workers to help alleviate the skills crisis.
Exclusive research commissioned by Personneltoday.com also finds the custodians of equality and diversity within organisations contradicting themselves and making some shocking admissions.
Almost all HR respondents admit they do not want to employ people over 65, while nearly all see age discrimination as rife among UK companies. A quarter believe that discrimination extends to their own organisation.
The vast majority also admit their company is not preparing adequately for the repercussions of an ageing workforce, despite recognising the value older workers can bring to an organisation.
Our online survey of 500 HR practitioners reveals that HR is clear-cut in its realisation that the UK workforce is ageing, with 88 per cent agreeing that companies will be forced to recruit older staff in the future.
However, the survey also reveals some stark contradictions in the minds of HR professionals. They overwhelmingly agree that workers over 50 are capable of adding value through experience, agree they take less sick leave than younger colleagues and, in many cases, are more efficient at work than younger workers.
But a fifth also agree that people over 65 are too old to do most jobs, and 91 per cent think age discrimination is widespread.
Perhaps the most telling statistic is the admission by 69 per cent of HR professionals that their company is – despite the warnings of an impending demographic time bomb – unprepared for an ageing workforce.