Let's talk about the R-Word

Releasing the potential of a hidden talent pool

Posted by Dil Daly

CEO at Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton

Thu 25th, Jun

A study into “the ageing workforce”[1] throws up some interesting findings. Demographic and legal changes mean that older people will form a much larger part of the workforce in the future – but employers and employees are not always seeing the same picture. 

Older employees often provide high level skills and experience, stability and a good work ethic, so it is worth retaining them as part of a good stratified age profile in your business –so how can you do this? The first priority the report highlights is the importance of flexible working in terms of location and hours to older people and gives examples of good practice in this area.

The good news is that 60% of employees don’t want to retire and of this group 69% are happy to continue working where they are now. Problem solved? Well maybe, but how do you know who these employees who want to stay with you are and who are the ones that want to retire, move on or do voluntary work instead?

The starting point for releasing the potential of this hidden talent pool is to legitimise discussions about the extended career and retirement. These subjects are often outside the comfort zones of employers and employees. Only 45% of employers said they were talking openly about retirement, and the reality is much lower according to employees as only 20% said they were having these kinds of conversations with their employer. Clearly, there’s reluctance on both sides to discuss retirement (the R-word). The timing of these conversations is important. Start them early, before an employee turns 50, not six months before retirement as is common practice now. This will provide essential insight to help with career and talent management strategies for your workforce.

If you feel awkward having this conversation or don’t know where to start then contact Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton[2]. We run pre-retirement courses which help employees think about the issues involved. Employees trust us as we have no vested interest and so they will open up to us and discuss their future. In conjunction with our pre-retirement partners we provide employment and careers options advice, financial planning advice and facilitate the thinking that needs to take place about what is the right path for each individual. 


[1] The ageing workforce – what’s your strategy by Talent Smoothie and HR Magazine, 2013

[2] Neil Clucas (Business Director) 0151 330 5599

Feel awkward talking about the R-Word? Contact Age Concern

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