The world has an ageing population….not exactly news…..yet commercial and social economies haven’t really grasped it yet. Many of the professional consultancies predict a demographic change over the next couple of generations. Some differ in their emphasis, but there is a common thread that the ‘working age’ population is decreasing in relation to an increasing older demographic range.

It is stated that around half of major company CEO’s are planning to increase headcount in the immediate future, and, that they do recognize the need to consider a range of strategies to attract and retain the skills they need. Within our ‘Champion Age Diversity’ arena, we are very much aligned to practically support this approach, an approach also heralded by the UK Governments Department for Work and Pension. However, the UK Government is still finding it necessary to issue papers that demonstrate that employers are not putting their thinking in to practice.

When it comes to age diversity, many employers default and defer to a thinking and strategizing plane, as they haven’t grasped how important and transcendant age is to their inclusion agenda and profile. But what is required, is practical action and implementation, or at least the mechanism to engage and connect the employment channels of retention, retraining and recruitment. It needs to be easily accessible and something that organisations can adopt and utilize to initiate and develop strategy, rather than endless strategy thinking, a situation that results in a distinct lack of progress, with more myths and barriers. Such stalling is distilled and translated in to even more consideration, of areas such as skills gaps, education models, the link between education and business, and more think-tanks.

The increase in the ageing population potentially places a strain on economies…..a challenge….but it may also offer the solution….an opportunity! Some (relatively old now) research, already states the GDP benefits, if the largely untapped, more mature work-force demographic, was recognized and considered for employment. There are some global figures doing the rounds, and they all point towards a significant added value to a nations GDP, i.e. in the UK, at the time of the report in 2014, such employment consideration could add nearly £90 billion to the annual GDP, that’s over half of the work welfare budget. And we know that positive interaction at this level, creates a bow-wave of benefit through other welfare and social channels.

But, addressing the age mega trend, is also not just a question of the older demographic, it’s how a multi-generational work-force can offer a more productive and progressive working environment, that extends to benefits to social flexibility and integration.

So, let’s meet the challenge with the opportunity…..let’s link thinking and strategizing to action and implementation….let’s instil and champion age diversity in the work-place.

Steve Anderson/CEO/The Age Diversity Forum