Stigma attached to age persists
Older employees face a lack of support and negative stereotyping, despite helping to create a wider range of skills and experience in UK businesses, new research from Canada Life Group Insurance reveals.
Two in five (40 per cent) UK workers say having a mix of young and older workers is positive, because it creates a wider range of skills. But at the same time, 22 per cent believe there is a negative stereotype or stigma surrounding older workers, and only 12 per cent think older people are appreciated and respected in the workplace.
More than a third (35 per cent) are concerned that older workers could act as ‘career blockers’, preventing younger staff from climbing the career ladder.
Just (11 per cent) think employers are encouraging older employees to stay in the workplace. Meanwhile, nearly a fifth of employees believe the government isn’t doing anything to help promote older workers.
Older workers need more flexible working options Flexible working (36 per cent) and more part-time opportunities (31 per cent ) are seen as most important to support an older workforce. An additional 14 per cent believe new skills training is most important.
As workers age and become naturally more susceptible to ill-health, employee benefits that support staff financially through periods of sickness are increasingly important. However, Canada Life Group’s research also shows the support services provided alongside protection products are just as important as the financial benefit.
Paul Avis, marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, comments:
“As our population ages and the traditional retirement age becomes a distant memory, it’s inevitable older employees will become more commonplace in the UK workforce. This is arguably a positive change, allowing employers to capitalise on the skills of multiple generations in their workforce. However, a persistent stigma and lack of respect for older staff threatens to impact this type of worker’s wellbeing and productivity.
“Companies who provide appropriate support for older workers will be the ones who benefit most from multi-generational working. Our research shows it’s not just financial benefits that are most useful for older workers, but also the support services that are provided alongside these. Support services provide daily value by helping to improve staff health and wellbeing and giving vital help to enable a return to work when illness does strike.”