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SMEs slow to improve age diversity in employees

Almost half of UK SMEs admit to having no initiatives in place to ensure they can appoint skilled and diverse people of all ages, according to a recent study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.
Although an ageing population is resulting in an increasingly age-diverse labour market, very few small firms are doing enough to reach out to potential employees of different ages and unlock the benefits they bring.
For example, the report titled ‘Age diversity in SMEs: reaping the benefits’ shows that 60 per cent of SMEs have never recruited a mature worker over the age of 65.
Mature workers can add a different dimension to a business, but only five per cent of workers in UK SMEs falls into the 65+ age bracket. This is despite the eradication of the default retirement age in 2011.
A third of SMEs don’t offer any support for the extension of working life, while more than a third of SMEs don’t have any health or wellbeing provisions in place to safeguard mature employees.
Dianah Worman, public policy advisor at the CIPD, said: “Employers are currently missing a trick by not offering flexible working to all employees and by not adapting to the changing needs of a changing workforce.
“Healthcare, provision for employees with caring responsibilities – these are just some of the many things SMEs need to be thinking about now to prepare for the future.
“Failure to do so could mean they miss out on the full range of talent available, putting their business at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

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