UK businesses unprepared for coping with ageing workforce

Companies are not prepared for coping with an ageing workforce, despite the upcoming abolition of the default retirement age (DRA).

A survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that 86% of managers and HR managers do not consider their organisation to be well prepared to deal with the issues surrounding an ageing workforce.

Nearly half (43%) of managers surveyed were not well-informed about their own organisation’s retirement policies and 34% claimed that there was no boardroom recognition of issues surrounding the ageing workforce.

However, the vast majority (93%) of respondents saw value in retaining the knowledge and experience of older workers.

With the proposed abolition of the DRA and impending changes to legislation, CMI and CIPD are calling on companies to take the issue more seriously.

Petra Wilton, director of policy and research at CMI, said: “The age profile of the UK workforce is changing, yet UK businesses are woefully unprepared for the impact this will have on their business. This latest research makes it clear that those at senior level in particular are failing to take the issue seriously.”

Dianah Worman, CIPD’s diversity adviser, added: “Employers will need to keep on their toes to respond appropriately to the phasing out of the DRA next year, which will have widespread implications. Clearly businesses already recognise the value of older workers but this knowledge needs to be matched with appropriate action.”

Confidence in being able to cope with an ageing workforce varied between different levels of management, with senior managers and directors feeling more prepared than middle and junior managers.

Differences were also found between the different sectors, with more respondents in the private sector describing themselves as well prepared than in the public sector.

The “Managing an Ageing Workforce” report surveyed 1,033 CMI and CIPD members.

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