Survey Report

Age diversity in SMEs: reaping the benefits

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Age diversity in SMEs: reaping the benefits

Published August 2014

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The CIPD and the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives have worked together to explore the experiences of and attitudes towards age diversity in the workplace in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

We surveyed a sample of senior decision-makers in SMEs across the UK to find out their levels of awareness and activities on this agenda. The report focuses on: the benefits and challenges of an age-diverse workforce; attitudes to mature employees and support provided for the extension of their working lives; recruitment practices in general and in relation to older workers; and reasons for bringing in HR professionals.

Throughout the report comparisons are made between the responses of employers in Scotland and England, and with the findings of the CIPD's Labour Market Outlook survey of UK organisations of all sizes.

The findings show that the majority of SMEs (61%) are focusing their attention on recruiting a mixture of ages, indicating that this trend of an age-diverse workforce in SMEs is set to continue. Almost nine out of ten SME employers surveyed agree that the knowledge and skills of older workers are highly valuable. However, 34% provide no support for the extension of working life and almost half (46%) report that their organisation has no activities in place to ensure access to enough skilled and diverse people of all ages.

'Despite the abolition of the default retirement age, for the majority (62%) of SMEs things
remained the same in terms of mature employees continuing to work later in life.
Over a quarter (28%) have seen an increased
interest among mature employees.'

Content of the report

  • Introduction
  • Executive summary
  • An age-diverse workforce - the benefits and challenges
  • Mature employees
  • Recruitment
  • Conclusion

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