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Firms publish age diversity data

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BITC and the government have called for UK employers to publicly commit to employing 12% more older workers by 2022

Atos, Aviva, Barclays and five other firms have published data about the age of their workforce to promote older workers.

The Co-operative Group, Home Instead Senior Care, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), Mercer, and Walgreens Boots Alliance have also published employee age data.

The move comes as Business in the Community (BITC) and the government’s business champion for older workers Andy Briggs renewed their call, first made in February, for UK employers to publicly commit to employing 12% more older workers by 2022.

Both are calling on more employers to commit to this pledge, and for more organisations to publish workforce data by age.

Briggs, who is also CEO of Aviva UK Life and chair of BITC's Age at Work leadership team, said companies need to step up. “The UK is facing a colossal skills gap, and older workers are vital to filling it,” he said. “Businesses can show leadership here through committing to change and actively seeking to recruit more over-50s.

“By being open about the progress they are making they can also lead the way in demonstrating the benefits of having a diverse team of employees that represents all sections of society.”

By 2020 one in three of the working age population will be aged over 50, and by 2030 half of all adults in the UK will be over 50. BITC warned that age bias means the UK employment rate drops to 64% at age 60, from 83% at age 50.

Rachael Saunders, Age at Work director at BITC, said that the UK cannot meet its growth and productivity objectives without adapting to retain, recruit and develop older people. “We have an ageing society and it is essential that employers act now to ensure employees can stay in work for longer and to support career changes in later life,” she said.

Briggs added: “Aviva is proud to be one of the first employers to publicly commit to 12% more older workers by 2022 and to publish workforce data by age.

"Currently around 19% of our workforce is over 50 – and we will improve on this over time. We hope to exceed rather than just meet the 12% target. Having employees with life experience and maturity, who can fully relate to our customers, is hugely valuable, and the over-50s are essential to this.”