Learning and development (L&D) opportunities are a driving force when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Research by the IMC found that 92% of job candidates use L&D opportunities as a deciding factor when considering job offers – as well as 52% of employees having left a role due to a lack of personal or professional development opportunities.
So why are there less developmental opportunities for older workers?
The answer is ageism – whether it be direct or subtle, purposeful or unconscious, there are pre-existing notions about someone when they reach a certain age. These notions act as barriers to career growth that need to be challenged and erased in order to unlock all of the potential of such a large proportion of the workforce.
Almost one-third of workers (32%) are now aged 50 or over. And yet, despite there being such a large presence of midlife workers in the UK workforce, 34% of these employees are unsatisfied with the few developmental opportunities available to them. And almost half (48%) say that their age is stopping them from getting a better job.
But what is really stopping them are these unconscious biases rooted in ageism. Managers may assume midlife workers are overqualified for a role, or assume that they aren’t tech-savvy, or that they will be too expensive to hire...
These are just a handful of stereotypes that perpetuate the ideology that midlife workers no longer have an appetite to learn, develop, and grow in their career – when the reality is the opposite! Just under 30% of people who are 55 and over want to improve their skills but are daunted by the idea of asking their employer to help.
And this is just those that already want to improve. If all midlife workers knew that there were learning and development opportunities on offer to them, think about many more would be interested!
Employers who are recognizing these biases and actively working towards erasing them are the ones who are going to be able to reap all the business benefits that age inclusivity has to offer. This starts by weaving this inclusivity into their hiring strategy, as this will give them access to the best and most diverse talent available. And if that isn’t enough, intergenerational teams are proven to be happier, to foster two-way mentoring relationships, and to increase customer satisfaction.
From a business perspective, as well as a social one, shattering the glass ceiling on ageism in the workplace is the smartest move a company can make.
If you would like to discuss how we can help weave age inclusion into your hiring strategy and company culture, please get in touch with us.