Employee retention: beating the skills shortage

It’s no secret that we’re living longer than ever. In the decade to 2015, the number of centenarians in the UK rose by 65% compared to the previous ten years[1]. The problem is, with people no longer wanting to work later in life, that greater experience and knowledge isn’t necessarily benefiting businesses.

What’s the problem?

Put simply, the amount of people between 50 and 64 is on the increase. In its own right, that stat is nothing to be alarmed about, however, by 2025 there will be 750,000 fewer people aged 16-49.[2]

Factor current employment rates for those two age groups, with just 69% of 50-64 year olds in paid work, compared to 83% of 16-49 year olds, and what you’re left with is a pretty serious skills shortage.[3]

Just how serious? Well, it’s been projected that failing to tackle it could cost British business around £44bn.[4] That’s a pretty hefty penalty for failing to engage with your workforce, but it can be avoided.

Reasons to work

It’s no longer enough to ensure that older workers have the same rights as everyone else. Now is the time to actively provide them with a reason to elongate their career.

A staggering 32% of British workers list the exhaustion caused by juggling a career with personal commitments, health and fitness as the main reason they don’t want to work later in life.[5] Providing a better work life balance is key to stemming the tide.

Show me the benefits

Unsurprisingly, employee benefits are central to retention. It’s something 70% of directors agree upon as being a highly important way of showing you care.[6]

It doesn’t have to be all about money – at least not in its most basic form. A newer breed of lifestyle perks are what this older audience want. You’re battling against endless rounds of golf, long lunches and afternoons in the garden, so they better be good.

Here’s a few things to consider:

Be vocal. It’s not enough to just shout about the benefits you offer at the recruitment stage. Reinforcing what’s available to existing employees – and advising them on getting the most out of their package – maintains your hard earned good will.

Be an example, not an exception. That means achieving a work life balance yourself. Working when you’re supposed to be off promotes the wrong kind of culture, with long hours seen as a way to get ahead. That isn’t necessarily attractive to the over 50s, let alone the rest of your workforce.

Help with planning. People aren’t going to work forever, so educating your workforce about retirement and providing financial advice could prove an effective way to retain them up to retirement age. As long as you’re offering them the right lifestyle, that is.

Be health conscious. For this demographic, you would expect health to be important. That means you need to offer everything from medical plans and insurance, to flexible working. And you need to be talking about it.

Want to know more about supporting your workforce and protecting your business? Visit jelfgroup.co.uk and check out our infographic for more details.