REC and Age UK produce best practice guide for recruiters on hiring older workers

Are you creating barriers for older workers?
Are you creating barriers for older workers?

With the number of over-50s in the jobs market expected to increase by 3.7 million by 2022, recruiters need to be aware of the significant barriers that exist for older workers in their search for employment.

This is according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and Age UK, which have created a joint initiative calling for recruiters to commit to certain recommendations and best practice when recruiting people over the age of 50.

The report, Age opportunity – a best practice guide for recruiters, calls for a commitment to promote the business case for hiring older workers and help employers appreciate the benefits that experience can bring to organisations.

Recent research by Business in the Community revealed that workers over the age of 50 only have a one in three chance of successfully finding work after becoming unemployed.

Minister for pensions, Ros Altmann said: “I am delighted to see the recruitment industry helping its members to better overcome age discriminatory practices.

“It is in the interests of both employers and the economy to ensure older job applicants are not overlooked, as they have a wealth of experience and valuable skills that benefit businesses. Ensuring mature applicants are considered on their merits rather than written off is vital, especially in our ageing population.”

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, added: “There is an enormous skills crisis looming. The UK is suffering from skills shortages across the economy and, at the same time, businesses say they can’t take on more work without more staff.”

Age UK and the REC advise designating a member of staff as an “advocate” for older workers, who can highlight their skills and experience and work closely with them to forge relationships and work through the challenges that they are facing in their job search.

In addition, the new guide:

  • explains how recruiters can help employers look beyond stereotypes and that there are no reasons for older workers to be less productive than their younger counterparts;
  • cautions against using potentially discriminatory language like “energetic” or “vibrant” in job adverts;
  • calls on the industry to use a range of platforms to advertise jobs, so that some older people who do not use social media are not excluded from opportunities; and
  • suggests that employers should develop partnerships with welfare providers and job centres.

The REC’s latest jobs survey suggests that 98% of employers have no extra capacity in their workforce and will need to take on more employees if they take on more work.

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