According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, the population of the UK is getting both larger and older resulting in an ageing workforce
For this reason, Cheeky Munkey has carried out an anonymous survey of professionals from 122 workplaces aged 35-65, to better understand and compare the workplace experiences of this age bracket with younger generations.
Ageism still rife
The survey’s interactive graphs highlight the need for HR teams to make changes to avoid ageism or lose out to age-diverse competitors who are investing in their older employees and gaining from their valuable experience and knowledge.
The survey also exposed the need for HR teams to get the most out of a varied workforce:
- Perceptions of injustice in the workplace: Are workers over 35 being punished for their loyalty to their employer? 51% of those not trained in the last year said that it was due to them being less likely to move jobs. So they feel they are losing out, just by staying faithful. This unfairness in the workplace can severely damage motivation and performance.
- Dual discrimination: Women can face ‘dual discrimination’, with both age and gender working against them. 39% of women over 35 say their age has worked against them, compared with 32% of men.
- The benefit of experience: In terms of the benefits that workers over 35 bring to the workplace, most saw their key skills as leadership, management and mentoring. Again, there were some gender differences, with 64% of men answering ‘leadership and management’ compared to 52% of women. This may reflect the increased likelihood of male employees to be in high ranking positions within the workplace.
- Underutilisation, inefficiency and mismanagement: The survey also reveals that many workers over 35 believe they have skills that are not being put to use, as a result of ageism. 52% said they have more to offer and this is particularly true for men – 64% of men reported feeling underutilised, compared with 42% of women.
Ageism – a performance blocker
The result of the unfair treatment that the workers over 35 feel is detrimental to engagement and motivation, potentially also having a negative impact on their confidence and mental health and increasing absenteeism.
The media focus on millennials is overshadowing the needs of other generations in the workplace, driving ageism, when millennials are actually a minority.
The age bracket being overlooked are those between the ages of 35-65 who make up a hugely significant percentage of the current workforce. As the UK labour market boom has recently been fuelled by the older generation. It is vital for HR teams to engage a more varied age group into equal consideration, especially since we are now living and working for longer.