British companies scoop awards for age-friendly employment policies


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Three UK companies were among the 10 winners at the 2009 AARP International Innovative Employer Awards for age-friendly employment practices, presented in London yesterday (Monday).

The three winning UK organisations were BT, Centrica and Domestic and General Services. The awards were announced by US-based non-profit organisation AARP and the Age Employment Network based in the UK (TAEN).

Angela Eagle, minister of state for pensions and ageing society, who attended the event, commented: "As we prepare to celebrate the huge contribution older people make to our society on Older People's Day, it is timely to recognise the outstanding achievement of those employers who are already taking advantage of the wealth of skills and experience older workers have, and encourage more employers to follow their example."

Caroline Waters, BT's director of people and policy (pictured), expressed her delight at receiving the award, adding: "It is increasingly important that we recognise and accommodate the needs of an older workforce. We have more than 30% of employees aged 50 or above and the company benefits hugely from its experienced people."

The awards, which aim to promote innovative innovative HR practices around the world, are in their second year. AARP worked on the programme with number of international organisations that aim to help create an effective labour market for people in mid and later life. TAEN collaborated with AARP to identify UK-based applicants.  AARP then chose the three winners from among the applicants.

Chris Ball, chief executive of TAEN, pointed to the advantages to business of age-friendly policies: "There are many companies that are not currently addressing the challenges of workforce ageing but there are others that have discovered a real business advantage in doing so. The challenge of helping workers age successfully is being taken up by leading edge companies and individuals who see the potential gains. They have responded with innovative spirit and in some cases, real panache."





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