Friday, May 09, 2008

United Kingdom: SME's Looking to Older Workers To Fill Skills Shortages

The Tenon Forum reports that entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom are increasingly relying on older workers to plug skills shortages in their businesses. Tenon regularly surveys small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and its latest research reveals that 30% of SMEs have a strong representation of employees aged over 50, with many businesses utilising the experience of older workers as coaches and mentors for younger employees (20%) or in the capacity of consultants following retirement (12%).

SMEs are looking to older workers to address concerns about skills shortages and that younger recruits are often just not up to the job: 34% report a lack of work readiness amongst graduates and 31% cite poor literacy and numeracy amongst school leavers as a key issue facing their business. Accordingly, 66% of SME leaders agree that the employment of workers aged 50 plus is a good solution to skills shortages, and 22% favor the hiring of older workers over college leavers as a solution to staffing problems.

According to Andy Raynor, CEO of Tenon:
Changes to pensions legislation, combined with the recent age discrimination legislation, are encouraging people to put their retirement on hold and continue working in some capacity, either as full-time or part-time employees, or as consultants. Older members of staff can bring huge benefits to an organisation and we expect to see more and more entrepreneurial businesses taking a flexible approach to recruitment and utilising this valuable skills base.
Source: Tenon Group Press Release (May 6, 2008)

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