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Many employers not set up for age diverse workforces, says CIPD

Workforces with up to four generations are an opportunity for innovation, but most companies are ill-prepared to harness it, according to a report released today.

The CIPD report Managing an Age-Diverse Workforce suggest employers are reactive rather than proactive when it comes to managing issues thrown up by intergenerational tensions. 

Just over one-in-three employers (31%) admitted to having no strategy in place to deal with these challenges. Almost half of line managers (46%) receive no training in managing the challenges faced when managing different generations.

Slightly more than a third (34%) said they do nothing to ensure they have access to enough skilled and diverse people of all ages. And when it comes to skills, one in five companies (22%) reported they have no provisions in place to ensure that employees of all ages develop and keep their skills up to date. 

Claire McCartney, research adviser at the CIPD, told HR magazine opportunities are being missed in the workplace. "Managers need to be able to unite teams across all generations. This means avoiding stereotypes and treating people as individuals," she said. "If this is done there are opportunities to see this age diversity as a benefit as it encourages different approaches to work that can bring great results."

Currently only 1% of employers report having employees over the age of 65. However, this is due to change in future. By 2030 the proportion of people older than 65 who are economically active is set to increase by a third.

McCartney said companies will need to offer support to those looking to extend their working lives. "It's about taking to people and working out what they need. Flexible working, flexible retirement plans and mentoring will all be important parts of supporting these people into working past the traditional retirement age," she said.