Ageing workforce and flexible working

The Department of Work and Pensions has just published a new report investigating how employers are responding to an ageing workforce and to the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. The research aimed to explore whether the attitudes and practices of employers might help or hinder Government policies that seek to encourage individuals to stay longer in work and employers to make better use of older workers, with an emphasis on encouragement, rather than compulsion or regulation. The authors found that the awareness of labour market trends and the implications for labour market supply was generally low. Most employers appeared broadly positive towards older workers, but only inclined to make explicit efforts to recruit them, to encourage staying on or to adapt work to make it more attractive to them, when they experience serious labour problems.

Yet, they acknowledged that there is a distinctive ‘older labour market‘: many employers identified a range of roles which they felt older workers might be particularly suited for, such as mentoring or supervision, and roles adapted to part-time and flexible working. But how far are employers willing to allow flexible working to develop? Compared to other sectors, the voluntary and community sector has a good track record in terms of flexible working, but what are the implications of further developing flexible working? (See the driver on work- | life balance) How will organisations, for instance, ensure a continuity of relationships with stakeholders? Or will job sharing become more frequent? Whatever the practice, more flexible working is undoubtedly going to require more management resources to handle a larger and more complex workforce.

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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