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UK firms need to overhaul their thinking on older workers, according to recruitment firm

Recruitment firm, Robert Half, has advised the government to retrain older workers to help solve the skills shortage
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Specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, has cautioned that government attempts to encourage retirees to re-enter the work force will fail to provide real change, unless the government works together with employers to implement significant changes to engage and train the older demographics.

Latest ONS data has revealed employment levels to be up once again, following the government’s strategies to bring older workers back into the workforce to help solve the issue of skills shortages. However, these shortages are showing no signs of slowing.

The government’s midlife ‘MOT initiative’, as well as the Chancellor’s announcement that he is exploring a “slightly shorter type” of apprenticeship, represent attempts to encourage workers over 50 to end early retirement.

Kris Harris, the Regional Director of Robert Half in the Midlands, Home Counties and East of England, expressed his support for initiatives “aimed at bolstering the UK’s workforce and which helps ease the skills shortages currently challenging employers”. However, he warned that “without real change, the actions of today will simply delay the retirement cliff further, rather than resolve it”.

Despite commending the efforts to encourage people over 50 back into employment, Harris argued that “this needs to be underpinned by a thorough strategy” as “the current hiring, training and talent management landscape isn’t geared towards older demographics”.

Harris drew particular attention to the issue of skills and training. He recognised the importance of older workers transferring their knowledge to those earlier on in their careers, as well as the necessity for those in the older age-bracket to be upskilled “to ensure that they are both working and training to their best abilities”.

The firm recommends “purposeful, structured programmes” to accommodate upskilling and the transfer of knowledge.

Further, Harris challenged stereotype of apprenticeships being more beneficial for younger workers, rather than a useful mechanism to “upskill and reskill workers who require additional development” or who are exploring a different professional field.

He further stated that older workers should not only be encouraged to stop retiring early but should also be “provided with the upskilling support that will help them navigate the new world of work and be able to pass on their invaluable expertise and practical knowledge to the younger workforce”.

Emphasising the importance of an overhaul of skills development, Harris believes that “wasting this chance now will be detrimental to the country’s profile as a skills powerhouse”.

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