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Half of SMEs have no age diversity strategy

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Almost half (46%) of SME employers admit they have no strategy in place to support mature workers, according to a report by the CIPD.

Age Diversity in SMEs: Reaping the benefits is based on a survey of 578 SME employers, along with comparative data from the CIPD's latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook (LMO).

It suggests that employers with 250 workers or more are more likely to have a strategy to employ and support mature workers. Only 15% say that they do not do any work in this area.

Despite the relative inactivity among smaller companies, 86% of leaders within SMEs agreed that there are benefits to having more mature employees in their workforce.

Only 22% of managers in the area agree that older workers cost organisations more money to employ, while 45% disagree.

The report also suggests only a minority of SME employers are offering benefits to mature workers to help extend their working lives. One-third (34%) offer flexible working options (compared to the LMO average of 42%).

Additionally, 44% of respondents said they believe younger managers find managing older workers challenging.

CIPD public policy adviser Dianah Worman told HR magazine business in general is poor at educating line managers in people management.

"The support often isn’t there," she said. "Especially in small business the employers need to realise that it's managers' responsibility to ensure that policies like flexible working are implemented properly and they need support to do that."