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Over-55s left behind in skills training

""It's vital that older generations in the workplace have equal access to skills training opportunities," said Corndel's CEO

Employees over the age of 55 have been left behind by skills training for digital and management skills, a report by training provider Corndel has revealed today.

The report showed that 75% of employees over the age of 55 had not received human management training for skills such as empathy, mental health awareness and emotional intelligence in their current roles, while 55% had not received technical training for tools such as ChatGPT.

Comparatively, 27% of employees aged 18 to 25 had not received training in digital skills.

Read more: Employees need new or better skills, say HR professionals

David James, chief learning officer at 360 Learning, told HR magazine that it is important for older workers to receive regular training as the UK's workforce is ageing.

The state pension age is predicted to need to rise to 71 by 2050.

James said: “If people are staying in work longer, perhaps due to the cost of living crisis, falling pension contributions and the almost certain increase in the retirement age, then for those who are working it’s important that they receive regular training and development so they can continue to thrive in their jobs and contribute positively to their company.”

A report by the Fabian Society last week (18 April) found that 1 million people aged 60 to 65 in the UK were living in poverty due to being without work or working reduced hours and having inadequate benefits or savings.

James added that HR could train older workers to fill skills gaps.

He continued: “Companies are continuing to struggle to hire the talent they need. In the UK, the labour market is still very tight and companies find it difficult to replace senior employees when they leave. 

Read more: New recommendations to increase support for older workers

“Older workers often have a lot of institutional knowledge, particularly if they have been at a company for a long time or have been in the workforce for decades. This is invaluable for younger colleagues, and they can benefit from mentorship and learning from experienced colleagues.

“Holding on to older workers and keeping them fulfilled through training and support is a strategic investment for a business.”

Over half of people over 55 (54%) claimed that professional development was an important factor in their decision to stay with an organisation. 

However 19% indicated that they did not feel confident enough in their current skill set to find new employment or to pivot their career if they were to lose their current job. A low proportion (8%) of people aged 55 and over reported that they did not feel confident in their ability to find a new job or their ability to pivot their career with their current skill set.

A separate poll last month (1 March 2024) by global professional services firm Aon found that a third of employees will need new or better skills to meet the demands of future roles.

James Kelly, CEO of Corndel, explained that people over 55 should be given skills training to improve career opportunities.

He told HR magazine: "It's vital that older generations in the workplace have equal access to skills training opportunities so that they have equitable career and personal development opportunities.

"By not providing up-to-date skills training for the over 55s, this segment of the workforce isn't being given the opportunity to perform to their full potential. Ultimately, employers are missing out on the incredible value this generation can contribute to organisational goals and successes."

Corndel's Workplace Training Report 2024 surveyed 250 HR decision-makers and 1,000 UK employees from 6-11 December 2023.