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SMEs unprepared for older workforce

SMEs recognise the benefits of employing workers over 65 but many are not yet ready to meet the needs of an ageing workforce, a survey by the CIPD has found.

Almost all (86%) SMEs questioned acknowledge the benefits of an age diverse workforce but only 25% have ever employed a mature worker.

The report found that despite a third of employers lacking provisions for older workers, many employers have introduced measures to support mature staff.

These include:

  • flexible working (34%)
  • flexible retirement policy (25%)
  • homeworking (22%).

The report found that employers recognise the benefits an age diverse workforce can bring.

The 3 main benefits are seen as:

  • improved knowledge sharing (56%)
  • better problem solving (34%)
  • enhanced customer service (21%).

Dianah Worman, public policy advisor at 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."