Businesses should capitalise on over 60s skill-set, say Skillsoft
Businesses should be looking to capitalise on what the over 60s have to offer, according to learning pioneers Skillsoft.
Kevin Young, general manager Skillsoft EMEA, believes that by setting up mentoring programmes, older staff can guide, pass on knowledge and help younger workers in an easy and effective way to both include and utilise the over 60s capabilities.
His comments come in the wake of a report by the Department for Work and Pensions, which found that the amount of older people working has increased by nearly two million in the last 15 years.
And Young says it's imperative that there is a staunch focus on continuous development of skills of older workers.
"The latest figures from the Department from Work and Pensions confirm what we have known for a long time: the UK has and will continue to have, a rising number of older workers. However, while enabling the older generation to remain in the workplace for longer is no doubt a vital step in addressing the labour shortage, it will only work if accompanied by a change in attitude by organisations. This includes reworking HR policies and practices to meet the needs of older workers and removing the common stereotypes associated with this demographic," he said.
"Pensions minister, Steve Webb, is right to suggest that older workers can hold the key to drive our economy forward. The stereotypical view that older workers will take time off sick and to visit grandchildren is holding individuals and ultimately, businesses back. Whilst younger employees have the enthusiasm and desire to learn, they do not have the experience to guide themselves through the minefield which is the workplace. Therefore, businesses should be looking to capitalise on what the over 60s have to offer. By setting up mentoring programmes, older staff can guide, pass on knowledge and help younger workers in an easy and effective way to both include and utilise the over 60s capabilities.
"As well as using older workers to educate those around them, it is also important to develop their skills. The younger generation tends to be much more au fait with all things digital and older workers may need training to stay up-to-date in this and other emerging technologies. However, our own research discovered that 92 per cent of UK CEOs do not currently invest in training and development for those employees over the age of 60.
"Instead of ignoring this age group, businesses need to take the lead and encourage older workers to enhance their skill set by offering both a job and training in one package, as they do for the younger generation. If not, it will be businesses that miss out on this untapped resource that is the experienced and loyal worker and run the risk of a wider skills gap emerging."