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Older workers locked out of development opportunities

Employees over 50 are less likely to be offered learning and development opportunities than their younger colleagues, research by AXA PPP has found.

The healthcare provider found that while 14% of workers under 50 say they haven’t been given the opportunity to learn new things and develop in the past year, this proportion rises to 27% among the over 50s.

The study of 2,000 employees and 250 employers also found that in the past six months, only 25% of workers over 50 had been on a training course. Just over a quarter (27%) had had a meeting with their manager to set or review their objectives, and 28% had had a conversation with their line manager about their career.

Some employers blame the workers themselves for this, with 46% claiming older workers are reluctant to take part in development training. The same proportion (46%) of employers think an employee’s performance declines with age.

However, 59% of employers say older workers are critical to their business.

AXA PPP healthcare marketing director, James Freeston said it is “no longer acceptable” to “switch off” development for older workers.

“Employers need to adapt their resources now to engage both younger and older workers through training and development programmes, and maximise the business benefit of their ageing population,” he said.

“Employers can help to bridge the age divide in their organisations by introducing structured mentoring programmes – such as flip mentoring – so that younger and older workers can both develop their skills and knowledge and, in turn, help to create a positive, collaborative culture and improve performance.”